Olney move to third in league after strong President's Day performance
Match Report by Jim Ford
Olney completed their home fixtures in front of a good turnout of supporters, on President's Day, at the Rec. on Saturday. They kicked off in perfect conditions for handling, a bit warm for scrummaging. Olney followed up and were awarded a penalty when the visitors failed to release the ball following a tackle. They kicked to touch and won the resulting lineout. Oakham managed to steal the ball and kicked for touch to relieve the pressure. Phil Bowden fielded the kick and set up an attack down the home side's left wing. At the breakdown Olney won the ball and their pace in the backs set up Hamish Bull for a try. The conversion attempt from wide out was unsuccessful and Olney took the lead after five minutes 5 - 0.
From the restart Oakham managed to stray offside and Olney were back on the attack. The forwards gained ground for the home side, Cameron Kok and Gareth Cahill both making good carries, taking play into the visitor's '22'. Olney were penalised at a ruck and Oakham kicked for a lineout just outside the home 10m. line. Olney managed to claim the ball but were penalised for going over the top in a ruck. The visitors kicked for touch and won the lineout between Olney's 10 and 22 m. lines. They drove the ball and were awarded a penalty for an offence in the ruck. This time they opted to kick for goal and their '10' Callum Kievlly was successful, reducing Olney's lead 5 - 3 (12 mins.).
From the restart Olney won the ball, following up, and the visitors defended well to keep play around the halfway line. The visitors kicked to touch taking play inside the home '22' and were awarded a scrum at the lineout. They won the ball and fed their three's who created an overlap for centre Mark Woodward to score, converted by Kievlly, giving them the lead 5 - 10 after 17 mins.
The kick off was returned to the home side's '22' and Oakham were penalised for offside. Olney kicked to touch for a lineout some 20 m. into Oakham territory. They won the lineout with a catch and drive to give the three's a chance to run the ball. Oakham were penalised at the breakdown and Olney took the lineout option again, this time 10m. from Oakham's goal line. The ball was driven again but a forward pass gave possession to Oakham with a scrum put in. Olney took the ball against the head and Cahill picked up off the back of the scrum to score a not converted try. This levelled the score at 10 - 10 (22 mins.).
The visitor's kick off failed to go ten and Olney had a scrum on the centre spot. They won the ball but Cameron Kennan's kick to touch was 'straight out' giving the visitors a line out on halfway. Olney won the ball and fed their backline. They were stopped inside the visitor's '22'. The home side kept the visitors on the back foot and their relief came when a forward pass gave them a scrum. Oakham won the ball but a good tackle By Keenan, at '9' on his opposite number enabled Olney to feed their three's. They were awarded a scrum and Keenan passed out to Jordan Letts at '12', who forced over for a try, that he converted, to take the lead 17 - 10 with 8 mins. to half time.
From the restart Oakham claimed the ball but their man was bundled into touch just outside the home '22'. Olney made a substitution Cam Kok being replaced by Ollie Francis. At the line out Olney won the ball and drove the maul then fed to Letts who kicked to touch 10m. from the visitor's goal line. Oakham's throw in was not straight and Olney had a scrum. They drove over the ball and Keenan scored off the back of the scrum. The conversion attempt, from wide out was just short. Score: 22 - 10 (37 min.). The remaining few minutes, following the restart, produced no further scores.
HALF TIME SCORE: OLNEY 22, OAKHAM 10
Oakham kicked off for the second half, Olney having replaced Jake Deighton with Charlie Harris. The home side counter attacked and were penalised for offside. The visitors kicked for a line out on the half way line, Olney won the ball and attacked, but a chip ahead by Letts was just too long and the visitors had a '22'drop out. There followed a period of play interrupted by scrums and penalties during which Olney took off Jeremiah Shields and put Marcus Goss on; took off Chris Sumner -Smith and put Jeremiah Shields on. From a scrum, Oakham put in, inside their '22' Olney were awarded a penalty. They ran the ball and Keenan scored his second try. Letts added the conversion, from the touch line. The score progressed to 29 - 10.
Oakham changed some personnel and Olney had to resort to a defensive game. This has been honed during foregoing games ( with one or two hiccups) and sides have found it difficult to score tries when forwards and backs combine to put up a fortress defence.
The match had passed the half hour mark before either side added to their score. Olney, from a penalty in the visitor's '22', attempted to run the ball. A knock on gave a scrum put in to Oakham, on their 5m.line they won the ball and kicked for touch inside their '22'. Olney won the line out on and Keenan, joining up with his back line, touched down for his third try. Letts added the conversion and 33 mins. into the half Olney had extended their lead to 36 - 10.
Oakham kicked off and from the clash of forwards in Olney's '22' they were awarded a penalty. They ran the ball and James Beenland forced over for a try converted by their reliable '10', Kievlly. Score: 36 - 17 (36 mins.).
Oakham's substitutions gave them more attacking options in the backline but Olney's backs coped well denying the visitor's any further scores.
FULL TIME SCORE: OLNEY 36, OAKHAM 17.
TEAM: Graham Smith, Jim Osborn (capt.), Jeremiah Shields, Mark Austin, Cam Kok, , Chris Sumner-Smith, Isaac Shields
Cameron Keenan, Eliot Simpson, Phil Bowden, Jordan Letts, Hamish Bull, Jake Deighton, Brandon Kerr.
SUBS.: Charlie Harris, Marcus Goss, Ollie Francis.
This good win, with one away game to complete the season; ( won 14, drawn 2, lost 5) moved Olney into third place in Midlands 2 East. League Table. A credit to all the players and the coaching team.
TEAM SPONSOR: DESMOND J. SMAIL LTD.
picture: Dave Sumner-Smith