Letts puts the boot into Belgrave
Match report by Jim Ford
Olney travelled to the north of Leicester for their league fixture with Belgrave on a dry but cold afternoon. They kicked off and the pattern of play was determined when the home side kicked for touch. Olney won the ball on their throw and set up a three-quarter move. Play was in the area around the Belgrave 22m. line for the next ten minutes, culminating in a penalty for the visitor’s, 20m. from and in front of goal. Jordan Letts made sure of the points to give the visitor’s the lead 0 – 3.
From the restart Olney returned the ball to touch on the Belgrave 10m. line. The home pack won the ball but Olney’s forwards drove a maul to prevent Belgrave taking advantage. Play at the breakdown was scrappy but the visitors kept the pressure in their opponents until their backs strayed offside at a ruck. Olney elected to go for goal and Letts was on target with an excellent kick from the home 10m. line. This extended Olney’s lead, after 15 mins. to 0 – 6.
The restart kick was returned into touch on the home 10m. line and Belgrave’s throw in at the line out was not straight. Olney elected to take the scrum but were guilty of encroaching by their three-quarters, and Kevin Curtis was successful with his kick at goal from the penalty for offside. This closed the deficit to 3 – 6 (20 mins.). Olney’s restart was followed up by the visitor’s forwards but they were a bit over enthusiastic at the maul and were penalised. Belgrave put the ball into touch for a line out on the halfway line, they won the ball but ‘knocked on’ in their backline giving the advantage to the visitors. Olney attacked through their backs and at the breakdown Belgrave won the ball and put it into touch. This gave Olney the throw in at the lineout on the Belgrave ‘22’and the home forwards claimed the ball but lost it in the ensuing maul. The ball found its way into the hands of Letts who planted a well taken drop goal, extending the visitor’s lead after 25 mins. to 3 – 9.
The game was not a great spectacle for the supporters but those following the Olney side were content to see standoff, Jordan Letts, keeping the score ticking along while the Olney team prevented Belgrave from adding to their tally. Olney increased their advantage by way of another penalty, again from around the home 10 m. line, scorer Letts. 35 mins. gone Belgrave 3, Olney 12.
Olney continued to threaten and their defending, particularly from the forwards denied the home side up to half time
HALF TIME: BELGRAVE 3, OLNEY 12.
Olney resumed having replaced forwards Mark Austin and Charlie Harris with George Stanton and Ollie Francis. Belgrave kicked off long, but too long and Olney touched the ball down in goal for a drop out ‘22’. From an exchange of kicks the result was a lineout to the home side from which they were awarded a penalty in a kickable position, duly converted ‘15’ Curtis. Belgrave 6, Olney 12. ( 7 mins.).
Belgrave continued to squander the possession they gained primarily because the ball carriers failed to pass, creating rucks that ended in the referee awarding set scrums. Another penalty in range of Letts prolific boot increased the visitor’s lead to 6 – 15. 13 mins. and not a try from either side. Olney changed Will Durden, coming off for Brandon Kerr, going on. Despite a number of promising breaks particularly an interception inside his half by ‘senior centre’ Smudge Smith, halted 5m. from Belgrave’s goal line. It seemed that a ‘try less’ result was on the cards; but, Smudge had achieved territorial advantage! The next Olney move involved a kick to the right wing where Jake ‘Noddy’ Deighton collected the ball and fed Euan Walker (hooker) who rounded the defenders to touch down. Letts narrowly missed the conversion and Olney moved on to 6 – 20. Smudge moved off to recover! Replaced by Will Durden.
The highlight of the remaining ten minutes was the home side being awarded a succession of scrums, each time being shunted yards, (sorry metres) off the ball with no clear advantage to either side. FULL TIME: BELGRAVE 6, OLNEY 20.
TEAM: Graham Smith, Euan Walker, Jeremiah Shields (capt.) Mark Austin, Peter T.G.,
Keegan Anderson, Charlie Harris, Gareth Carhill
Rich Cowan, Jordan Letts, Will Edwards, Dave Smith, Hamish Bull, Jake Deighton.
SUBS: George Stanton, Ollie Francis, Brandon Kerr.
TEAM SPONSOR: DESMOND J. SMAIL LTD.