Powerful Pack lead Olney to win over Luton
Match report by Jim Ford
Olney took route M1 for their league match against Luton on Saturday. Conditions were near perfect for playing rugby; no rain, no cold hands, no wind and no 'blinding' sunshine.
Olney kicked off and followed up but knocked on to give the first scrum to Luton. The visitors demonstrated their advantage in the set piece, when they drove the Luton pack off the ball. The ball was fed out and kicked for touch but misdirected and the ball went 'dead'.
For the next ten minutes the match was a series of scrums and frustrated attempts to attack, both sides managing to cover with effective defending.
Luton put the first points on the scoreboard, their '15', David Hamm, joining the backline to put Chris Davies in for a try in the corner. Hamm added the conversion with a very good kick. Luton 7, Olney 0
Both sides were attempting to run the ball and both sides were determined in their defending. Olney were awarded a penalty for an offside infringement and kicked to touch for a lineout on Luton's 5m. line. They won good ball but were forced into touch, giving the throw in to Luton. Olney won the ball off their opponents and Euan Walker, making his final appearance in the 'pink and grey', forced over the line for a try in the corner. Jordan Letts made the conversion, with a fine kick, levelling the score at Luton 7, Olney 7. (15 mins.)
From the kick off Luton put the visitors under pressure and Olney defending their goal line conceded a penalty. Hamm was successful with the kick to goal and reclaimed the lead Luton 10, Olney 7. (17 mins.)
Olney were having success at the line-out their lock Mark Austin using his height to good effect, he was able to claim the ball on the throw in from both sides. This was most productive with both sides attempting to work the touchline. Both sides were being penalised for technical offences, the count being in the visitor's favour, kicking for territorial gain was prevalent.
It was just before half time when Olney made their first substitution, Charlie Harris replacing Cam Kok. Olney had the put in at a scrum in the Luton '22', they won the ball and did the pick and drive. The back row took the ball on and fed Jordan Letts, at centre, who ran in a try under the posts. He added the conversion and regained the lead for Olney, 10 - 14.
Luton kicked off and Olney counter attacked. The forward did the hard work taking the ball into the home side's half. They fed the Olney backline and Brandon Kerr joined in from '15' to force over for a well worked try. There was no conversion, Olney's lead moved on to 10 - 19.
Luton just had time to kick off, Elliot Simpson at '10' was forced into touch and the ref. called 'half time'
HALF TIME SCORE: LUTON 1 0, OLNEY 19.
Luton rotated their subs. and Olney kicked off for the second half . Luton counter attacked and Olney conceded a penalty for offside. The home side ran the ball and took play into the visitor's '22'.Attempting to claim the ball, Olney's scrum half Cam Keenan ended up at the bottom of a pile of players. He was badly winded and had to come off, replaced by Rich Cowan. Olney also substituted Graham Smith for Euan Walker.
Olney were under siege and Luton camped on their 5m. line for a period of play but managed, from a pick and drive, to take play out of their '22'. Gaining good ball from a lineout Olney drove the maul and fed their backline. A timely interception by Luton put their centre Jake Hobbs in for a try, unconverted but closing the difference to 15 - 19.
The game continued to provide plenty of entertainment for the supporters, both sides having the potential to add to their scores.
Olney were guilty of spoiling some opportunities by wayward passing or taking the wrong option.They were able to bring Keenan back into the action, taking Elliot Simpson off. Euan Walker returned to give Jeremiah Shields a break.
A penalty to Luton was put into touch and, again, Olney won the ball at the lineout. Olney attacked and fed the ball to winger Phil Bowden who put in a strong run down the right wing. The move broke down with a scrum awarded to the visitors.
Olney lost possession of the ball and Luton were awarded a free kick, the ball ended up in touch and Olney won the lineout. Keenan made a break, jinking through the close defence and feeding Bowden backing up . He used his pace to round his opposite number and the full back to post Olney's fourth try. Letts added the conversion and Olney's lead looked safe at 15 - 26 ( 30 mins.)
A further change to the visitor's line up took place Charlie Harris being replaced by Jeremiah Shields. The changes increased Olney's grip on the game and Their confidence seemed to increase. The pack had performed well as a unit in the set pieces and defending. On this platform they made the final score. The forwards claimed the ball from a ruck and carried before feeding the backs. A knock on lost it to Luton but Olney won possession from the scrum. Finally a great run by Kerr handed the ball on to flanker Isaac Shields who made the touch down under the posts. Letts added the conversion.
FULL TIME SCORE: LUTON 15, OLNEY 33.