65 — 21
Gladiators turn up pre-season heat
Belsize IVs visited OAs on a day when we admittedly had our strongest hand, however this was a full squad performance that bodes well as we close pre-season and begin league fixtures. The Gladiators ran in 10 tries for a 65-21 victory.
Vice-Captain Steve Maishman spotted in warm-up OAs pack’s dominant size and power, so it was agreed tight pack play with lose forward runners around the breakdown and from 10 would be used to advance in territory and wear the opposition out early on. This proved to be the successful pattern of play throughout key periods in the game, with OAs scoring two quick tries from the off after bullocking runs from the back row of Maish, Hadley and Felix who caused havoc throughout the first half successfully breaking gain lines again and again with help from a very dominant OAs pack. Both tries were neatly converted by John Atkins who finished with 80% kicking success for the day.
The ease of breaking the gain line got to OAs heads, with solo runs and unnecessary offloads allowing Belsize to regain possession and score a breakaway try. From the restart OAs were awarded a penalty on Belsize’s 22 and John Atkins slotted over to keep the scoreboard ticking over again and return confidence.
With better patience and decision making OAs could have utilised numerous overlaps for the backs to score after wave upon wave of dominant lose running and rucks, but often selected the wrong side or running line for attack, much to the rightful frustration of our 10 and the back line.
A Jack Dayton try from a 10 metre penalty was good reward, but from the restart unforced errors led to another Belsize try very much against the run of play.
A solid halftime team talk reminded everyone to focus on playing simple phases, protect the ball and release the backs when we were ready. This proved highly effective with OAs pack going around the corner to gain yards in every attack with debutants Jonny Clavey and Lloyd McConkey working brilliantly with OAs stalwarts like Phil Brunt, Harry Knighton and Gyan Rhodes.
The backs finished off the plays with Andy Doyle, Mick Foley and Tanyaradzwa Fernando all getting on the scoresheet for the backs.
This successful match would prove to be a fitting reward for pre-season efforts from all, and also a great send off for centres Pete Wampamba Strain, who leaves for Canterbury Uni, and his brother Anthony Nduala Strain who’s off on tour with the Army. The two combined to score OAs last score of the day. We wish them both successful times, and look forward to them returning to the field with OAs in future.
Man of the Match:
Andy Doyle’s well timed breaks and distribution from 12 earned him Man-of-the-match against tough competition from the ever present hooker Phil Brunt and the three-try-crashing-ball Felix Turk.
Jack Dayton, Philip Brunt, Alex Hendon, Gyan Rhodes, Alex Powdrell, Jonny Clavey, Harry Knighton, Tom Spratt, Hadley Eames, Lloyd McConkey, Felix Turk, Steve Maischman (VC)
Mick Foley, Jeff Ninalga, Jan Ninalga, Andy Doyle, Kieran McGowan, John Atkins, Anthony Nduala Strain, Pete Wampamba Strain, Tanyaradzwa Fernando, Tommy Daley, Toby Daley, Rob Fenton (C).
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