New look Olney win opening game against Huntingdon
By Fraser Bull
Match report by Jim Ford
OLNEY vs. HUNTINGDON 15th. Sept. 2018
Olney welcomed Huntingdon to the Rec. for their first league fixture of the new season. The home side's line up showed a number of new faces and the good turnout of spectators had high expectations under the new coaching set up. Pre-match hospitality was provided by
S.R.Osborn and Son Ltd, to whom the club are most grateful for their continued (and extended) support.
Huntingdon kicked off, into the wind, and Olney benefitted from a scrum on halfway, the ball not going '10'.
Olney were unfortunate to lose lock forward Sven Meiland, leaving the pitch - injured leg, replaced by Guyon Bedwell, making his first team debut.
Play progressed with a number of penalties called against both sides until Olney opened the scoring after 12 mins., with a try scored and converted by Brendan Burke at stand off, from close range, following good continuity from the forwards. Olney7, Huntingdon 0.
Huntingdon kicked off and Olney took possession but knocked on. Thus the game progressed, albeit a bit scrappy, and a penalty count going in favour of the visitors. The home side looked dangerous with the ball in hand but the next score was by the visitors. They carried the ball into the home 5m. area and Roger Shakespeare forced over in the corner for an unconverted try. Olney 7, Huntingdon 5 (28 mins.) Following the kick off Huntingdon attacked and were awarded a penalty on the home '22 ' but the attempt to convert it failed.
A long, probing kick from the Olney standoff was carried into the visitor's in goal area. Olney won the ensuing scrum and made the touch down near the posts. The try was again scored and converted by Burke. Olney 14, Huntingdon 5 (30 mins.)
Huntingdon kicked off and Olney counter attacked, they managed to lose possession and the visitors took advantage of some scrappy play by the home side. A forward pass gave
Huntingdon the put in at a scrum, however, Olney turned defence into attack, they won the ball and put it in the hands of Joseph O'Conner who outstripped the visitors defence to score near the posts. Burke added the conversion. Olney 21, Huntingdon 5 (35 mins).
Huntingdon needed to raise their game, and they did. They took advantage of Olney being on the wrong side of too many of the referees decisions. This gave the visitors the advantage of possession and field position and the home side were further handicapped by being reduced in numbers, Dave Smith being despatched to the 'sin bin', for ten minutes, following warning by the referee of repeat offences. The visitors took advantage of the situation adding another unconverted try by Chas Saunders (47 mins. incl. injury time). Olney 21, Huntingdon 10.
The referee whistled for half time.
HALF TIME: OLNEY 21, HUNTINGDON 10.
Olney kicked off for the second half with Jordan Letts on for Burke, and the pack re-jigged Jake Ashton on for David Rainbow. Huntingdon counter attacked from the restart and took play into the home '22'. From a penalty they gained a line out 5m. from the home goal line. They won the ball and drove the pack for a try by Douglas Bentley, not converted. Olney 21, Huntingdon 15 (3 mins).
Olney restarted and were able to take advantage of a knock on by the visitors. Olney won the ball and attacked through the pack. They fed the backs and Letts planted a fine drop goal to extend the difference. Olney 24, Huntingdon 15 (7 mins). Dave Smith returned to bring Olney up to fifteen.
Huntingdon restarted and were awarded a penalty between the home 10/22 m. lines. They opted to run the ball and gained ground with their pack dominating. Seff Muggeridge made the touchdown, converted by Joe Hicken, to close the gap again, Olney 24, Huntingdon 22 (10 mins). With the wind at their backs and the scoring momentum with Huntingdon then was a nervous time for the home spectators, however the home team still looked strong in what had been a tough game.
From the kick off Huntingdon won the ball at a scrum and took play deep into Olney territory, both sides attempted to gain territorial advantage using the aerial route, with the result being a penalty in Olney's favour. The ball was put into touch on the visitor's '22. Olney were beginning to take advantage of a tiring side, and an interception claimed the ball for the home side deep in their own half. A great run in midfield produced the next try for Phil Bowden, unconverted. Olney 29, Huntingdon 22 (27 mins).
Olney spoiled a good attacking move on the opponents 22 when they were penalised for offside however another interception took play into Huntingdon territory and Olney were awarded a scrum. They won the ball and from an ensuing ruck Freddie Betteridge picked up off the back to run in a try under the sticks and cap off a great game for the team. Letts added the conversion. Olney 36, Huntingdon 22 (36 mins).
FINAL SCORE: Olney 36, Huntingdon 22.
A good result given the large number of new faces with some promising moments, particularly some handling moves, great involvement from some of the younger players that stepped up and strong carrying across the team.
Team: Graham Smith, Jim Osborn, David Rainbow, Sven Meiland, Joseph O'Conner, Craig Smith, Len White, Freddie Betteridge, Rhys Gregory, Brendan Burke, Harry James, Dave Smith, Euan Irwin, Phil Bowden, Stu. Livesey Subs: Jake Ashton, Jordan Letts, Guyon Bedwell