Man of the match:
In atrocious conditions of heavy wind and rain, the OAs came up against a Watford side that on a better day the OAs would have handled more confidently. The OAs lads were slow off the blocks at the start of the match, and took too long to gain a rhythm. Unfortunately, too many missed tackles proved a problem, not just early on but for the whole game, and the first five Watford tries went unanswered, as the OAs struggled to contain two or three fast and strong Watford players running in their tries from the halfway line.
There were some more positive signs in the scrum. A couple of early OAs scrums won by Watford led to some changes in the OAs pack, after which the OAs scrum was consistently strong and showed some real drive and grit. And when Watford were pressurising OAs on the OAs’ line, some solid defending was put in by the boys, including Sam Waters holding up a try. OAs were able to contain Watford at close quarters down the middle, but the real lesson of this game was that when possession came their way, OAs were too slow to move the ball wide and use the width of the pitch. There were some good bursting runs from OAs players, especially James Baxter and James Wells, but the boys were struggling to capitalise on the periods of momentum.
Eventually the pressure paid off, with Marcus Devenport scoring OAs’ first in the corner, but Watford were quick to come back with another weaving run to score their sixth and shortly a seventh. The wet weather and cold hands resulted in both teams making a lot of handling errors, but despite the score line the OAs spirits were still good as they headed in to half time 7-1 down.
The second half saw a welcome improvement in the OAs game, with better tempo and pressure from the team. George Hamblett put in some sterling work to rip the ball from Watford on a couple of occasions, but Watford again ran through to score an eighth. Finally OAs managed to score a second, with Leo McGrigor receiving from the scrum to force a way through the Watford line and touch it down. The boys were buoyed up, and there was better aggressive tackling on show, noticeably by James Baxter. A third try for OAs followed, scored by James Wells after some desperate defending by Watford. However, the faster Watford players were still finding it too easy to evade the tackles of the OAs team, and two more tries were run over from distance.
OAs’ scrum was doing well, but the opportunities to get the ball out wide were not taken. The boys were not giving up, though, and a fourth try for OAs followed, with Leo McGrigor finding a way through the middle. However, inevitably the final try was in the same pattern as before, with Watford running it in from the half way line.
Despite the scoreline, the boys kept up their team spirit throughout, which is a positive to take from a tough match.
1 Christopher Lundrigan
2 Daniel Downes
3 Alex Dagenais
4 Cameron Caldwell
5 George Hamblett
8 Harry Crawley
9 Sam Waters
10 Ethan Teague
12 James Wells
12 Marcus Devenport
13 Leo McGrigor
14 Alexander Rutter
16 William Duncan
18 James Baxter
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