Colts progress to next round of National Colts Cup
Report by Fraser Bull (Photo by Louise de Main)
Olney Colts welcomed Shelford RFC Colts from Cambridgeshire for the second round of the National Colts Cup having beaten Tring in the last round. You can see from the photo that this was not a day for fast, open running rugby and really a day to play the conditions. Persistent rain and near zero temperatures were enhanced by the biting wind making playing challenging and spectating only for those of a certain disposition (they have it easy in Pyeong Chang compared to last Saturday in Olney).
Olney played into the wind for the first half and despite that managed to weather some early possession for Shelford and drive down the field through the forwards to score a try (unconverted). The pattern of play continued with Shelford having plenty of possession but not really threatening the Olney line as the defence held firm, particularly in midfield where Shelford struggled to get over the gain line. Shelford used quick taps rather than going for the corner or posts which meant there was a lot of play in the centre of the field. Olney's forwards made ground each time they had the ball, with some great continuity. Whilst the set piece was challenging in the conditions it was a relatively even contest, but with Olney able to take their chances when they got near the line, scoring a second unconverted try. 10-0 at half time.
The second half was played almost entirely in the Shelford half. The strong wind was used effectively by the Olney backs off a very solid forward platform and with the pressure came two further unconverted tries and a penalty to bring the final score to 23-0. The substitutes all made a difference when they came on and whilst Shelford did manage some late pressure (despite being a man down due to injuries) they did not manage to get across the line.
It was a tremendous performance, playing the conditions perfectly, keeping it close when they needed to and stretching wider when the opportunity arose. Shelford were a strong team, with some very good players, and the game was played in a competitive spirit throughout. The crowd retired to the bar for hot chocolates and hot water bottles to defrost.
Looking forward to the next round, fixture and date to be confirmed.