Olney see off Stamford
Home side took the upper hand - Match Report by Jim Ford
In near perfect conditions for playing rugby and with guaranteed support from the 120 supporters representing former players fresh out of their reunion lunch, Olney entertained Stamford at the Rec. The match was preceded by two minutes silence in recognition of the many years of service given by former Club Captain and Life Member Ian Cox.
Olney kicked off and Stamford, occupying second place in the Midlands 2 East (S.)league, kicked for touch on The home 22. Olney won the lineout and kicked for territory. Winning the ball from a line out on halfway the pack drove into the visitors half the ball was delivered to Phil Bowden on the wing, he made ground but was forced into touch. Stamford won the line out on their 22 and kicked for touch again, Bowden managed to prevent the ball going out of play and set up the threes. The move culminated in a well taken try by Jake Deighton, the kick from wide out failed to make the target and the home side posted the first score, 5 - 0 after 5 mins.
The play was dominated by the home side, making the first up tackles count, forwards and backs combined to stifle the visitors progress.
Olney made a blood substitution, Peter T.G. replacing Mark Austin at lock. T.G. immediately signalled his intention making a carry of some 30 m., almost to the visitors goal line. Stamford kept plugging away and from a penalty, for Olney going offside, gained a line out 5m. from the home goal line. They won the ball and were awarded another penalty that they ran. Unfortunately they knocked on and the home side were able to avert the danger. Olney won the scrum and initiated a back row break. The move was halted just inside half way. Stamford made a substitution, also involving their second row. Olney were able to revert to their starting line up, Austins injury patched up.
Another handling error gave the home side the put in at a scrum on halfway. The visitors were penalised and Olney ran the ball in the forwards. The back row linked up well and Keegan Anderson at 8, forced over for a try. Jordan Letts added the conversion and Olney moved on to 12 - 0 (22 mins.).
Play was contained within the two packs of forwards and Olney brought on fresh legs, T.G. replacing Charlie Harris. A scrummaging offence gave the home side a free kick and the ball was run to the visitors 5m. line. The ball reached the hands of stand in skipper Jeremiah Shields who stormed over for try, converted by Letts. Olneys lead was further extended, 19 - 0 with little over 10 mins. left to half time.
Olney returned the ball from the restart and the visitors attempted to run it in their backs. The close attention of Olneys back row invoked a knock on giving them the put in at a scrum near their 10m. line. They won the ball and Stamford were penalised at the breakdown giving Letts a shot at goal from near halfway. He was successful with a fine kick and this extended Olneys lead, just before the referee whistled for half time
HALF TIME SCORE: OLNEY 22, STAMFORD 0.
Stamford kicked off and the match was consumed for the first fifteen minutes with both sides trying to gain territory by the aerial route. During this phase of the game Jeremiah Shields was replaced by Graham Smith at prop. There were a number of unforced errors and Olney chose the lineout or scrum alternative rather than the three point option.
The first score of the half came to Stamford, courtesy of their centre Guy Michael who caught the Olney defence napping to run in a try. The conversion attempt from wide out failed, but Stamford were on the score board 22 - 5.
Jeremiah Shields replaced Euan Walker, Brandon Kerr replaced Dave Smith (a corner stone of Olneys defence).
A free kick to Stamford saw them run the ball but they lost it at the breakdown and Jake Ashton made a probing carry taking him close to the Stamford goal line. Jeremiah Shields was up in support and he finished another charge with another try, Letts was again on target, 29 - 5 (18 mins.).
Olney continued to have the upper hand of a close encounter. The final score was well executed by Brandon Kerr. He received the ball near halfway and broke through the first line of the visitors defence, chipped the full back and gathered at pace to outstrip the chasers, for a great try. Not converted but a fine effort.
FINAL SCORE: OLNEY 34, STAMFORD 5.
TEAM: Euan Walker, Jake Ashton, Jeremiah Shields (capt.), Mark Austin, Keegan Anderson,
Charlie Harris, Charlie Belcher, Isaac Shields.
Rich Cowan, Jordan Letts, Jake Deighton, Dave Smith, Hamish Bull, Phil Bowden, Will Durden.
SUBS: Graham Smith, Peter Tokarski-Grasby.