Earlsdon capitalise on Olney weaknesses
Match Report by Jim Ford
Olney visited Coventry club Earlsdon, for the third round fixture in the Midlands Division Cup. With five changes in the backs, the team faced an uncertain prospect and the lack of first fifteen experience was soon exploited by the home side.
Olney kicked off and were immediately put under pressure resulting in a try for Earlsdons 13, converted by their outside half to put the home side in front, after 3 mins. 7 - 0,
Olney were much better equipped in the forwards and from the restart gained the put in at a scrum some 10 m. into the Earlsdon half. The home pack were penalised for pulling the scrum down and the ball was put into touch near the Earlsdon 5m. line. A contest between the two packs of forwards developed but Earlsdon emerged with possession when the visitors were penalised for offside.
Olney were penalised again, guilty of giving away a penalty at a ruck near their own goal line, Earlsdon took the scrum option. They won the ball and their 2 scored a try, converted by their 10; to put them further ahead 14 – 0 (17mins.).
Olney’s inexperience showed up when their backs gave away possession, kicking the ball into the hands of the Earlsdon wings/full back. This invited counter attacks taking play away from their strength in the pack. A penalty, in front of goal, gave the home side a 17 - 0 advantage with 10 mins. remaining. A further penalty from a line out was converted by Earlsdons 10, taking the score to 20 - 0.
A well directed kick and chase, by Olney centre Marcus Goss, took play almost to the Earlsdon goal line. The home side were penalised and the visitors ran the ball, but lost it in a ruck. There being no further addition to the score, the teams turned round for half time.
HALF TIME SCORE: EARLSDON 20, OLNEY 0.
Earlsdon kicked off and robust encounters in the forwards resulted in some short tempered exchanges, the play was littered with penalties. Following one such engagement Euan Walker was asked to take 10 mins. off. To maintain a recognised front row this necessitated Jim Osborn coming off the bench and Gareth Cahill leaving the field. This depleted the visitors back row and required the already stretched Olney forwards to raise their game.
They did manage to contain the home attack and it was almost halfway through the second period before another score. Earlsdon managed to squeeze their way down the left hand touch line and put their 7 in for an unconverted try taking their tally to 25 - 0.
The Olney pack were working their socks off to get the visitors on to the scoreboard. They managed to deny their opposition any good ball and the numbers were levelled when a yellow card was pulled out despatching one of the home forwards.
A line out on the home 5m. line was won by Olney and they drove for the line, a scrum was awarded to the visitors at the breakdown and they produced the ball to feed their backline. Marcus Goss managed to juggle the ball and touchdown for a try, wide out. There was no conversion but the visitors had broken their duck 25 - 5 (30 mins.)
The game was not a pretty affair and the penalties were still liberally dished out. A slip up in the Olney backs allowed a breakaway try letting the Earlsdon centre run in a try, converted by their 10 to put them 32 - 5 in front, with two minutes to go.
From the restart Earlsdon counter attacked and gained a lineout on Olneys 10 m. line. The visitors won the ball and enjoyed their best spell. They gained put in at a scrum 5m. out from the home goal line, they won the ball and Earlsdon were caught offside. The visitors ran the penalty and set up Jordan Letts for a try that he converted to give the final score.
FINAL SCORE: EARLSDON 32, OLNEY 12.