A late Rushden & Higham try narrowly saw off a spirited Olney side 44-37 on Saturday.
The home side couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, conceding two unconverted tries in the opening seven minutes to find themselves 10-0 down.
From the restart, following the second score the home side managed to gain possession and Olney were awarded a penalty when Rushden failed to roll away after a tackle. The ball was put into touch and the home forwards set up their backs, who put the ball through the hands. James Hawken joining the line from full back put winger Harry James in for a try in the corner. Hawken converted from the touch line and Olney were on the scoreboard at 10-7.
From a penalty, Hawken elected to go for goal and landed a fine kick from just inside the visitor’s half, levelling the score. However, when Olney kicked the ball into Rushden’s half following the kick off, the visitors counter attacked and ran through the home defence for a try under the posts. The outside half added the conversion and Rushden reclaimed the lead. Another penalty against Rushden was kicked to close the gap to 17-13.
Following the restart, Kane Middleton intercepted a move from the Rushden back line and the ball went through the hands for Jake Deighton to score on the left wing. A conversion from the touchline, again by Hawken, put Olney back in the lead 20-17. Rushden were soon to equalise with a kicked penalty levelling the scores at 20-20. Another score soon followed for Olney as a kick to touch won them the lineout; the forwards driving over to score with the conversion putting Olney a try ahead at half time.
From the restart a strong maul from Olney drove Rushden back and good hands saw Harry James go in for his second try. With the conversion Olney were 34-20 ahead after five second half minutes. The reply from Rushden was a strong scrum and a try in the corner, a conversion bringing the visitors back into the game.
Another swift try from Rushden was converted taking the scores even again. A penalty was successfully kicked by Rushden leaving Olney trailing by three points until Hawken returned the compliment evening up to 37-37.
But with the clock running down, Rushden were awarded a penalty; they elected to run the ball and their centre managed to break the defensive line and score under the posts. The conversion rubbed salt in the wounds for Olney, as Rushden won 44-37.