OLNEY’S long wait for a win finally came to an end on Saturday as they beat local rivals Buckingham 25-10 away from home, although they remain bottom of the table.
Their second win of the season came against the same team as the first who Olney beat at home back in September, and was a crucial one against the side sitting immediately above them in the South West 1 East League table.
With 13 defeats to their name, Olney remain cut adrift at the foot of the table, with the bonus point for the win cutting the gap between them and Buckingham to a still significant 12 points – two more than they have now amassed all season.
But with the season now just over half way through, the victory has at least given Olney hope of pulling off a great escape.
Olney kicked off and gained a lineout halfway into Buckingham territory, but it soon became apparent that the visitors were going to struggle at the set pieces, their lineout technique somewhat lacking and Buckingham making things difficult in the scrummages. However, when they had possession they were keen to move the ball around and attack the hosts’ back line.
Following lineouts and scrums which didn’t achieve any significant advantage to either side, Olney were awarded a scum on the Buckingham 22, and after winning the ball and good handling, Tom Dolemore was presented with a scoring opportunity he made the most of as he touched down in the corner on 15 minutes.
Buckingham soon forced the play down the other end where Olney defended well and managed to keep them out despite a number of determined attacks from the home backs. But from a ruck following a tackle, the visitors were penalised and Buckingham successfully converted to finally put some points on the board.
Olney missed a couple of chances to extend their lead with kickable penalties, but they still went into the break with a slender 5-3 lead.
The second half carried on where the first half had ended as both sides made unforced errors. Olney’s best effort was a move initiated by a break from Robinson and involved Caplin and Dolemore before a fine move was spoiled by a forward pass.
But Olney didn’t have to wait long to add to their tally as Duck kicked through to give Dolemore the perfect chance to run through and score halfway out right of the goal. Being a favourable position, Dolemore made no mistake to add the conversion and put Olney 12-3 up.
They were then denied another score when the referee deemed the ball to have been held up when the visitors had forced play over the line in a driving maul.
More points soon followed though as Dolemore converted another penalty with just 10 minutes to play, and it was in those closing stages that play became hectic.
A break from Dolemore was stopped, but the ball fell to Parkin and Leahy who combined for the latter to touch down to make it 20-3, with the conversion hitting the crossbar.
Olney looked to have done enough but their job wasn’t made easy late on when Letts received a yellow card following a ruck and the hosts took advantage of the man advantage to score a converted try and cut the gap to 10 points.
However, there was still time for Olney to score that all important fourth try as Duck fed Padfield who cut through the Buckingham defence to score and earn the bonus points.
There was also a win for Bletchley who edged a close game against Witney 19-18 thanks to tries from Jamie Parker and Adam Dempsey, plus three Phil Harman penalties.
In the Southern Counties North League, Milton Keynes thumped Marlborough 66-3 to keep their title hopes alive.