A bright but cool morning greeted OAs as they prepared to face a Harpenden B team containing a sprinkling of A team players.
Harpenden must have thought Christmas had come two weeks early as they scored two quick tries with OAs not even touching the ball and looking as if they were playing touch rugby. 12-0 after three minutes and a long morning seemed in store for OAs.
Fortunately the Harpenden A team players were instructed not to try to run in individual tries from anywhere and to pass the ball to their team mates if the opportunity arose. This ensured a more even contest although OAs were spared the concession of a further try when a Harpenden player dropped a pass 10 yards short of the OAs line and under no pressure.
OAs started to gain in confidence and from an excellent scrum where Harpenden were shoved off their own put in a promising move by the backs unfortunately came to nothing as the final pass went astray.
Strong running from Leon took play into the Harpenden 22 and good work by the backs OAs bundled into touch just short of the Harpenden line.
Unfortunately Duncan had to leave the field due to a heavy fall sustained in competing for a high ball. The rest of the half was well balanced with both teams enjoying good spells of possession and field position but not able to turn into points leaving the half time score 12-0.
OAs were unable to gather the kick off cleanly and from the resulting scrum Harpenden fed the ball to their speedy winger who crossed for a converted try.
Undeterred, OAs continued to press forward and a clever kick from Ollie forced Harpenden to field the ball in their own 22. The clearance kick was gathered at pace by the OAs full back (borrowed from Harpenden) and his aggressive run took him back into the Harpenden 22 where a well timed pass was gathered by Leon who beat two defenders to score. An excellent conversion by Ollie made the score 19-7.
Encouraged by the success of the earlier kick OAs tried the tactic again but this time the ball was gathered on the full at pace by the Harpenden winger and his strong running was too much for the OAs covering defence resulting in a converted try.
The OA scrum continued to cause problems for Harpenden and ensured OAs enjoyed plenty of possession. A typically strong run from Ben S took play into the Harpenden 22.The ball was taken on by the forwards to just short of the Harpenden line and from the breakdown Karim seized the opportunity and his excellent pickup allowed him to crash over for a well- deserved try. Ollie hit the post with conversion making the score 26 – 12.
OAs were again unable to secure the restart cleanly and were again punished by the strong running Harpenden backs who scored to make the final score 31-12.
An entertaining game for the spectators with the OAs pack again performing excellently – the main difference between the sides being the more direct and aggressive running of the Harpenden backs whose ranks included one or two A team players.
Many thanks to Harpenden for an enjoyable game and for lending OAs one of their better players to ensure the match could continue 15 a side and remain competitive.