In recent times an unusually wet and cold Sunday morning up at Woollams saw two excellent matches. With relentless rain, the B’s had a hard act to follow, having seen the A’s dispense with Stortford A’s minutes earlier. The boys were put through their warm-up paces by Steve and Nic. On a cold wet morning soft-hands and short passes was the necessity of the play.
The boys started well pushing straight into Stortford territory. With a strong reluctance to see a turnover of the ball, and to prevent loss of ground hard tackles and full support saw OA’s push Stortford within the opening minutes to within 3 meters of their try line. A scrum was called, OA’s worked the ball out finding Ruben in mid flow, with couple of shimmies he went through for the 1st try.
Now sooner had Stortford re-started than OA’s were back up field. Moving the ball swiftly, despite hard tackling from Stortford, the ball came to Alex carrying forward and spread to Toby who, with no need for a second chance, stormed through to make the 2nd try. OA’s, within the opening 5 minutes, were imposing their game. Short passes, soft hands, quick feet.
The pressure was maintained for the 3rd impressive try. Stortford in possession faced a wall of tackles, with the ball turned over OA’s powered forward, moving the ball across the line, through 4 players, Finlay snatched on to a perfect pass, despite efforts to bring him down he evaded any resistance for his first and 3rd try in the corner.
Naturally, Stortford heads began to drop, but this was no excuse for OA’s to release the accelerator. In fact, quite the opposite, the boys were even more focused, moving ball swiftly again, this time allowing for James Carruthers to dart passed three Stortford backs to get the 4th try. The pressure did not avail, Stortford found themselves amidst a storm of OA’s movement, tackling and passing. The weather had no adverse effect on the boys. Rhys proving the point by feeding his breadbasket with a lovely take and scurrying passed the bewildered Stortford backs to score the 5th try. The beleaguered Stortford coach was scratching his head as to how to repel the onslaught. He pushed subs out with a direction to warm up vigorously. In the mean, Tariq, who had just put a strong performance in for the A’s had not finished with his rugby, taking a short pass managing to hold off a tackle and force his way to the try line for the 6th. This was still the first half, no sooner had the ball been kicked from the re-start, OA’s utilised possession with a flow of passes through Thomas Rankin, Harry, Hugo, Rhys and Daniel, saw Alex take another short pass, evading a couple of tackles to score the 7th. The 8th try, and Ruben’s second was the epitome of OA’s philosophy, the balled moved through six players, in short succession with Ruben perfectly placed to sprint through despite facing two tough challenges.
For Stortford something needed to be done before the half time whistle blew. Coach Stortford urged his players forward when in possession, prowling and bellowing them on. His team acknowledge, with a fine forward charge. An inter-change of passes saw them break the OA’s back line and to score their first try at the whistle. Maybe Stortford could make a come-back?
Following the re-start. Despite being 8 trys to the good OA’s would not relent. Kicking downfield Stortford started. The ball gained by Ruben who quickly passed Toby, then to James Colman, finally finding Louis. A movement of swift hands vision and speed saw Louis take the 9th try within the first minute of the second half. The game was passing Stortford as Rhys showed, when OA’s having taken a loose ball, saw another quick succession of passes wide where Rhys willing accepted to lay a try in the corner, for the 10th and his second. As the second-half progressed Stortford to their credit were still intent on making it difficult for OA’s. Re-grouping and tackling as a unit, saw a strong period of domination for Stortford. Encouragement for their coach who could see progress. Referee Nic Coleman in his usual fair and firm manner made sure the game flowed, with stringent orders to the back line on scrums not to encroach. OA’s 11th try came when Ruben broke through dummying twice, he was tackled, but made it through to the corner take his third try. The 12th tray came through Findlay picking up a loose ball, fed through to James Carruthers who deftly fed the ball to Alex 4 meters from the line for OA’s 12th try back in the corner and his second. On the re-start, OA’s made quick ground forward, seeing the ball move wide to Finlay, who by passing three attempted tackles made the 13th try and his second. By now saw the introduction of Tom Neville, quick into the affray, saw some excellent movement with Ruben passing to James Coleman, onto James Carruthers, Louis, Daniel, but for an unfortunate knock-on in poor condition would have seen OA’s 14th try. The watching spectators did not have to wait long as OA’s demonstrated again, swift movement through the gears, Alex to Harry, to Tom, through to Hugo and James Carruthers. Some great rucking over up near the try line OA’s would not relent. James Coleman progressing forward with the ball well into opposition territory. Staying focused and onside Louis snatched on to the loose ball and belted into the corner for OA’s 15th try and his second. OA’s were not finished yet, following a powerful ruck possession was gained and once again, saw the ball flow in linear motion across the team to Tom Rankin who finished an excellent team try for the 16th. Coming to the end and having used his subs Coach Stortford repeatedly urged his team to pass the ball. They listened, with shear grit and force they got the ball over the line for their second try of the game. James Coleman on the re-start drove forward, to his pass once again move through the team, resulting in James Carruthers scoring his second and last try of the game just as the whistle blew on an impressive 17 – 2 try win to OA’s.
This was, on poor day, a fine performance from the B team. Each player played their part. You can only beat the team in front of you and following a fine start to the season for the B’s tougher and more testing challenges await the boys. No doubt Luton, who are up next, will be a significantly different game.
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