With the weather in Hertfordshire looking decidedly miserable to say the least, OAs made their way to Ealing for the next round of their quest to regain the League Title. Ealing had proved mean and worthy opponents in their meeting last season and there was no reason to believe they would not be so again. Once more the squad was threadbare to say the least with last minute injuries resulting in only 15 fit players taking to the pitch.
The weather in Ealing clearly has a different climate to that of St. Albans and in fact was almost balmy except for a somewhat ferocious wind which blew diagonally across the artificial pitch; it was very likely to play a significant part in the match in terms of game management.
Right from the off, OAs put significant pressure on Ealing and resulting in a charge from Matt C and low and behold, OAs were a try to the good. Difficult kicking conditions wreaked havoc all morning for the kickers at least in the first half. 0-5.
The forwards continued their rich vein of form and Harvey switching into flanker for the day, made the most of a scrum to break free and run across the line to put down in the corner with Ealing with all due sympathy bucking out of the tackles. 0-10.
Ealing then had their best period of the match and as OAs switched off and made some basic kicking errors battled through to touch down under the posts. 7-10.
A highlight of this season has been the driving maul and OAs really are dominant when they get this together. From one such maul with Ealing collapsing it close to the line, Charlie capitalised on the OA advantage and popped over for the try.
When the forwards are in this mood, the backs sometimes have to take a backseat and make the most of what they can. Tom L did that with a beautiful run from halfway selling a couple of dummies on the way. 7-22.
Half-time meant a quick re-group and an adjustment of tactics to allow for the wind and use it to maximum advantage.
From a kick down field and a good run chase, their full back who had an excellent game had no choice other than to take back and dab down in the goal area. From the 5 metre scrum, Harvey picked up and stormed over for his second 7-27.
Bonus point already comfortably secured, OAs probably then scored their best try of the game. From the line out, it went quickly along the line and quick hands allowed Will R to go over in the corner. Tom L added the extras with a great kick. 7-34.
Ealing despite their best efforts to gain territory, were continually pinned back in their own 22 by good and sensible place kicking. Another driving maul from the lineout and Adam at the base of the maul went over for another try to add to his efforts to be top scorer. 7-41 with Tom adding the extras.
As Ealing heads began to drop, Rukh then got the first of his brace cutting through from 45 metres as the gaps opened up. 7-48 Tom L with another solid kick
OAs final try was Rukh making the most of a Matt C run (carried the ball well all day) and at 7-53 the match was technically over at 45 point difference but both sides played out the last couple of minutes which saw Ealing get the final points of the day through some tenacious play which was some reward for their efforts. 14-53
A cup semi-final in the county cup versus Harpenden is the order of the day on Wednesday before OAs return to potential league action on Sunday against Hammersmith and Fulham, the scarlet pimpernels of the league.