Gritty performance gives Olney the win
Match Report by Jim Ford
Olney took to the road on Saturday to play on unfamiliar territory this being a first time for most of the team and their followers. Their opposition, Stamford, presented a formidable physical presence but the visitors rose to the occasion.
Olney kicked off and followed well, to claim possession from turn over at a ruck where the ball landed. They moved play into the Stamford '22' but lost the advantage when they knocked on. A penalty for offside followed, against Olney, taking the pressure off the home side.
Olney were defending well and a penetrating run by Phil Bowden, on Olney's left wing, took play into Stamford's '22'. The Olney forwards and three's combined to produce the first touchdown, by flanker Kane Russell, on 13 mins. Jordan Letts converted from wide out to give Olney a deserved lead 0 - 7.
Stamford kicked off and again a penalty gave them the opportunity to put the ball into touch 10m. from the visitor's goal line. Stamford, with the throw in, won the ball but lost it to the visitor's forwards and it was cleared to touch . Stamford appeared to be unable to penetrate the Olney defence who, though changed through injuries, were making the first up tackles most efficiently. The visitor's forwards were also dominating the set scrums, winning on the Stamford put in by driving the pack over the ball.
Stamford, when awarded a penalty, took the scrum option and lost the ball! Olney fed their backs and the move ended in a try for Harry James, at '15', no conversion, extending the lead to 0 - 12, on 22 mins.
Stamford counter attacked following the kick off and were awarded a penalty on Olney's ' '22'. They kicked to touch inside the visitor's 5m. line but lost the ball in the lineout and Olney cleared their lines.
The home side were becoming frustrated and were guilty of conceding a number of penalties. The probing running by Olney's backs was finally rewarded when Bowden ran in a try from the Stamford '22' line, rounding the defence and touching down under the posts. Letts added the conversion to extend the Olney lead to 0 - 19, at the end of the first half.
HALF TIME SCORE: STAMFORD 0, OLNEY 19.
Stamford kicked off and immediately conceded a scrum, 'not 10', Olney won the scrum and kicked the ball into touch halfway into the home territory.
Olney changed players Ollie Francis and Euan Walker coming off, George Stanton and Dave Smith going on. This gave fresh legs to the visitor's hard working pack. It worked, scrum half Cam Keenan, getting quick ball at the next Olney scrum, ran the ball from inside his own half to touchdown. Letts added the conversion and after 3 mins. play Olney progressed to 0 - 26.
The next score was not long coming. Olney continued to outplay Stamford and Bowden ran in another unconverted try 0-31 (6 mins.)
Play, for the next 15 mins., was a battle of attrition, it was littered with penalties and scrums with little or no continuity.
Olney took their score further ahead when Stamford attempted to run the ball in their own '22'. They were interrupted by an extraordinary bit of anticipation, Hamish Bull intecepted the pass between the Stamford centres and sprinted to the home goal line. He touched down, Letts added the conversion, 0 - 38 (21 mins).
Olney, though they rotated their subs. were obviously tiring from the effort to achieve this result. They conceded two unconverted tries to Dan Griffen and Gareth Ramsden respectively after 48 mins. incl. injury time.
FULL TIME SCORE: STAMFORD 10, OLNEY 38.
TEAM: Euan Walker, Jim Osborn (capt.) Jeremiah Shields, Cam Kok, Mark Austen, Kane Russell, Isaac Shields,
Ollie Francis. Cam Keenan, Patch Adamns,Jake Deighton, Jordan Letts, Hamish Bull, Phil Bowden, Harry James.
SUBS.: Graham Smith, Dave Smith, George Stanton.
TEAM SPONSOR: DESMOND J. SMAIL LTD.