Olney overpower Rushden & Higham
First away league game brings success
Olney made the short trip to Rushden for their first away league game of the season. They kicked off down the slope and the home side returned the ball to Will Durden at full back who ran it into Rushden 's '22' . The visitors’ backs arrived in force and Rushden relieved the situation putting the ball into touch. Olney seemed to have the edge in the initial encounters and the first score came following a determined run by Will Edwards taking the ball deep into the home half. The forwards finished the move putting prop Jeremiah Shields in for an unconverted try, giving the visitors the lead after 15 mins. 0 - 5.
Following the restart Rushden were awarded a penalty on the Olney 10 m. line, they opted to go for touch giving them a lineout some 15m. from Olney's goal line. They won the ball and fed their threes'. At the breakdown Olney were penalised again, this time the kick was directed to goal, the attempt failed and Olney were relieved with a '22' drop out. Their respite was short lived, the ball was delivered to Chester Hilson the Rushden '12' who split the Olney cover to score a try, converted by Chris Jackson putting the home side 7 - 5 ahead midway through the half.
Euan Walker fielded the ball when the kick off was returned and carried into Rushden's '22'. Rushden claimed the ball from the breakdown but knocked on to give Olney put in at a scrum. Winning the ball the visitors were awarded a penalty for offside on the home '22'. Jordan Letts was on target and the score turned round again, 7 - 8 in Olney's favour.
Rushden knocked on from the restart and some lack of discipline entered the home sides repertoire. The first offence resulted in a yellow card for their hooker Matt Elson, little time had been added before their winger Jacob Matthews joined him in the sin bin. The resulting penalty was run by scrum half Rich Cowan and he touched down for a try, converted by Letts; Rushden 7, Olney 15 (31 mins.).
That wasn't the end of the mischief, following the restart a further clash of the forwards ended with a third yellow card, this time for Rushden's flanker Duncan Green.
Olney took advantage of their extra manpower and Will Edwards made another foray from inside his own half to round the Rushden cover and touchdown for a try. There was no conversion and the score advanced to 7 - 20.
Credit must go the home side who stole the ball from an overthrow at a line out and attacked, gaining a scrum put in inside the visitor's '22'. Olney were penalised for offside and Jackson slotted the goal to set the score at 10 - 20, where it remained to half time.
HALF TIME SCORE: RUSHDEN & HIGHAM 10, OLNEY 20.
Rushden kicked off for the second half with the benefit of the slope. Olney changed personnel bringing on Graham Smith and resting Mark Austin. The first ten minutes were relatively quiet. The first scoring move came when, awarded a penalty, Olney kicked for touch and gained a lineout 15m. into Rushden territory. They won the ball and attacked through their three-quarter line. The home side won ball from a ruck and put it in touch near their '22'. Olney won the line out, gained ground through the three quarters and flanker Charlie Belcher backed up to force over for a well earned try. Letts added the conversion, stretching the lead to 10 - 27. ( 13 mins.).
Olney made a substitution, Phil Powell replacing Smudge Smith. Olney were, this time, guilty of attracting the ref's. displeasure. Graham Smith was requested to leave the proceedings (yellow card). This was unfortunately within 'the zone' resulting in a 'penalty try', converted by Jackson to raise the home side's hopes, after 18 mins., 17 - 27.
Seven minutes on and the home supporter's hopes were further elevated, driving the ball from a lineout in the visitor's half they were awarded a penalty. They ran the ball and put their centre over for an unconverted try. Rushden 22, Olney 27 (25 mins.)
Charlie Belcher was replaced by Charlie Harris, whose game time was regrettably curtailed by yet another yellow card, offset by a 'yellow' to Rushden's replacement hooker. Mark Austin returned to replace Isaac Shields.
As game time ran down Olney's player/coach, Phil Powell opened up the home defence and scored, under the posts. Letts added the conversion in the last minutes.
FINAL SCORE: RUSHDEN & HIGHAM 22, OLNEY 34.
TEAM: Euan Walker, Jake Ashton, Jeremiah Shields (capt.), Mark Austin, Keegan Anderson, Gareth Carhill,
Charlie Belcher, Isaac Shields,
Rich Cowan, Jordan Letts, James Padfield, Dave Smith, Hamish Bull, Will Edwards, Will Durden.
SUBS: Graham Smith, Charlie Harris, Phil Powell.
TEAM SPONSOR: DESMOND. J. SMAIL