Team effort secures the win for Olney
Match report by Jim Ford
Olney entertained Luton for their Midlands 2 league game at the Rec. on Saturday. The visitors kicked off in good conditions, if a bit cool for the spectators. A knock on gave the home forwards a chance to test their opposition and they produced the ball to give the backs a run. A forward pass turned the tables in Lutons favour and they moved play into Olneys 22. This move was also frustrated and a penalty gave the home side an opportunity to put the ball into touch near the visitors 5 m. line.
On their throw in Olney won the ball and drove for the goal line. The drive was blocked and the ball was sent through the threes giving Jake Deighton room to slip through the visitors defence and touchdown. Jordan Letts was successful with the conversion and Olney posted the first score, after 8 mins. Olney 7, Luton 0.
From the restart another penalty at the breakdown took the pressure off the home side. The kick to touch some 12 m. into Lutons half gave possession to the home side. Again a handling error curtailed the move and a scrum put the advantage with the visitors. Play was contained around halfway until a kick to touch near the Luton 22 was used well by the Luton backline, taking a quick throw in and using their three quarters to run the ball half the length of the pitch unopposed. At the breakdown Luton were awarded a scrum near the Olney 22. They won the ball and put their full back Aiden Kenny in for a try. The conversion attempt was wide and the score moved on to Olney 7, Luton 5, after 20 mins.
Some probing kicks by Brandon Kerr and Jordan Letts kept the visitors on the back foot and the Olney forwards were occupied with some excellent defensive work to stem the counter attacks. The next score came from a penalty some 8m. from the halfway line that Letts converted, to extend the lead, Olney 10, Luton 5. (28 mins.).
Against a side with a physical advantage in most positions, Olney were required to perform above their weight. They did this through the whole team, and prevented any further score before half time. Some promising carries were not quite able to breech the visitors defence in the remainder of the first half.
HALF TIME SCORE: Olney 10 , Luton 5.
Olney kicked off for the second half with George Stanton replacing Jeremiah Shields. They kept play in the opposition half and gained a scrum a couple of metres from the Luton 22. Scrum half Rich Cowan picked up and made a weaving run, shrugging off tackles to score a solo try. The conversion was not successful but Olney extended their lead, five minutes into the half, Olney 15, Luton 5.
This gave the visitors a wakeup call , they substituted one of their lock forwards, and piled on the pressure. Olney responded, the back row managed to find some extra gears, Jeremiah Shields and Jake Ashton replaced Ollie Francis and Jim Osborn and they weathered the storm.
The visitors pack were showing signs of fatigue and made some substitutions. Olney attempted to bring their backs more into the game and Garth Spencer made his debut coming off the bench for Smudge Smith. The strategy paid off. A mix up at a drop out 22for Luton, following a near miss for a try by Marcus Goss, gave Olney a scrum for a knock on, on the Luton 22. They won the ball and passed through the threes, Kerr joining the line to touchdown. Letts added the conversion putting the home side into a more comfortable lead, Olney 22, Luton 5, with only added time for stoppages remaining.
Gareth Cahill was replaced by Ollie Francis, following a massive contribution to the back row performance. From somewhere Tyler Chant, for Luton, found a hole in the Olney defence and scored a breakaway try, unconverted, to end proceedings.
Final Score Olney 22 - Luton 10
Image by Ricky Adderson photography