With a coach load of players and supporters, plus those travelling to Sunbury -on-Thames, and the weather clear and sunny, if not a bit fresh, the boys were pretty fired up.
With supporters lining the pitch side, OR’s started off strong and dominant with some good line work and putting LI on the back foot early and forcing them to give up an penalty. With a good kick to touch and an accurate lineout, swift ball to the backs and to J Hoad going over in at the corner, but unable to secure the conversion to his try. Nonetheless a good start to the first 10 minute. 0-5.
LI were never going to be a team to shy away and with words of encouragement from their South African coaches, they came back with pressure in our 22. OR’s gave away a couple of penalties, but with really strong defence, LI couldn’t maximise on the penalties and with some poor play from the LI backs, the pressure was abated and a scrum to OR’s and a bit of time to get some composure.
After a period of play of toing and froing, a good kick from LI to touch back into our half. But again, OR’s defence was just too strong, and LI could make no headway. With OR’s showing dominance in all aspects, Z Webb made a quick break but a great tackle from LI, eventually, bringing him down, but unfortunately saw the Irish player leave the field having taken a decent knock to the head.
OR’s tackles seemed to start heading a bit high, and we were giving away too many penalties, but LI just couldn’t seem to maximise.
The next few minutes saw some scrappy but still good play from both teams. OR’s came out once again more dominant and with more composure and with a bouncing ball picked up well by W Parker and breaking through and over for the score. Converted by J Hoad. 0-12.
Heads back in the game and straight from KO, Z Webb bowling through LI players, the ball coming back to J Blake following in Z Webb’s footsteps and going for a blinding break, eventually popping the ball out to T Baldwin and over for 0-17 and the half time whistle.
2nd half KO, and a quick start from both teams. Initially LI still looked a little shell shocked having not really been allowed to get into the flow of the first half, and OR’s still attacking hard and fast. Once again, the power of Z Webb was too much for LI as they tried to gather themselves as he came across and down the wing to do t down in the corner, proving just a bit too much for J Hoad. 0-22
Still pressure from OR’s from the KO and LI still struggling to keep up with the pace and being forced back into their own 22. Scrum, but resulting in a penalty to LI, giving them the chance to clear and regroup.
This seemed to be enough to give LI a boost, and with some losses in concentration LI started to find some gaps, and eventually using numbers in an overlap and over for the score. Unconverted. 5-22.
OR’s started back with intense pressure, seeing L Flatt having moved from scrum half to wing and sitting his opposite number down (twice his size), getting the ball back inside and with some lovely vision from A Webb and a well weighted cross kick to J Hoad for another score. 5-27.
After all the attacking and pressure from OR’s, but a run of staggered play, it seems that OR’s might have been running out of steam or the number of penalties that we were giving away, began to take their toll and LI were making the most of the flow of play being in their favour. With increased pressure LI broke through for their second, under the posts and converted. 12-27.
It seemed that this is what LI needed, and aided with our KO not making 10, and being deftly kicked through by the LI winger, but bought down, the spaces had already been created and the ball came out quickly to LI who had the numbers out wide and score. 19-27.
Still with a narrow 2 score buffer and a bit of indiscipline in the dying minutes, resulted in another penalty and then walked back a further 10, cracks were showing and once again a drive over from LI bringing it to 24-27.
2 minutes to go and OR’s kept their heads and forced a final penalty from LI with a kick to touch OR’s victors 24-27.
Definitely a match of two halves. Spectators had been treated to a cracking game of rugby, played in the right way. OR’s showing power, speed and handling in the forwards, with backs complimenting with speed, awareness and defence. Great to watch.
OR’s Plate Winners
Player of the tournament – W Parker