Olney returned to losing ways on Saturday as they were soundly beaten by Old Laurentians 26-7.
Olney made the short trek up the M45 to the Town where in 1823 William Webb Ellis picked up the ball in a school soccer match and the whole rugby thing kicked off.
Olney kicked off into a strong wind, fielding a team littered with changes from the previous week. Their pack was short of regular front players, to the extent that they called on lock Cam Kok to throw in at the lines out.
Play, for the first fifteen minutes ebbed and flowed, both sides resorting to their defensive skills, between a series of penalty kicks. The home three-quarters made the breakthrough intercepting a move by Olneys backs. Claiming the ball near the halfway line they ran the ball to within 5m of the visitors goal line. At the breakdown they produced the ball for Ben Roach to score a try that he also converted as Old Ls took a 7-0 lead after 15 minutes.
Olney kicked off to restart and benefitted from being awarded a series of penalties in the next few minutes. They managed to move play into Old Ls 22 but using the wind the home side kicked back into the visitors half.
Frustration was apparent in the Olney pack and they were faced with the prospect of playing with fourteen me when prop Graham Smith was yellow carded. This required the introduction of sub. David Rainbow into the front row, Ryan Hammett coming off to accommodate him.
Despite being a man down the visitors defence, coupled with the fact that Old Ls. failed to make full use of their possession, denied the home team from increasing their lead. Laurentians eventually broke through following a scrum put in by Olney they were penalised and the home side were awarded a penalty. They kicked to touch, 5m. from the Olney goal line and won the lineout. The ball was shipped out to Old. Ls backs and James Orbison touched down for a try , converted by Roach, to increase their lead to 14-0, which they took with them into the break.
Olney started the second half with Ollie Francis replacing Craig Smith in the front row. Old Ls kicked off, into the wind, and the ball failed to go ten. This gave the visitors a scrum on the centre spot. The re- arranged Olney front row failed to win the ball and Old Ls kicked for territory, the ball failed to cross touch line. Olney counter attacked and were awarded a penalty inside the home 22. They kicked to touch but lost the lineout on their throw.
Olney’s opportunity came when the home side were reduced to fourteen men, the yellow card was produced for their lock forward. The visitors ran the ball from the ensuing penalty and George Stanton charged over to score. The try was converted by Kieran Manson, closing the deficit to 14-7, after 7 mins. Olney brought Hamish Bull off the bench for Lloyd Sweeney.
Following the restart the home side were awarded a penalty and ran the ball. Olney conceded a scrum for a knock on, attempting to pick up a loose ball. Old Ls won the ball and fed their backline for Orbison to score his second try, not converted. Score: 19-7 (13 mins.)
Despite having the wind advantage and closing the score to within one goal, from here in Olney’s game began to crumble. They were unable to control the set piece on their own ball. The scrum couldn’t produce clean ball, the lines out, on their throw, were invariably lost and worse was to come. Following a line out Olney not only lost the ball but Tom Short had to leave the field, injured. An undisciplined act by Ollie Francis resulted in his being sent off.
On the plus side Jordan Letts kicks to touch, with the wind, from penalties, gave Olney lines out deep into the home half. There was a negative, Olney couldn’t win the lines out. The visitors made the best they could from rotating the subs. but achieved little or no improvement. The fateful score came late in the game Olney were in sight of the Old Ls goal line, when Luke Townsend for Laurentians claimed the ball. He ran almost the length of the pitch to score Old Ls fourth try, converted by Roach, to complete the scoring.
Olney 2nds, pictured, were on the wrong end of a narrow 39-33 defeat at the hands of Oundle on Saturday. It was a similar story for the 3rds too, who lost 29-20 to Daventry.
However, it was better news for Olney Ladies who took no pity on neighbours Welling borough, hammering them 57-0.