Olney left with their tails between their legs as they went down 36-25 to bottom of the league side Dunstablians.
More than 50 registered players were unavailable for Olney for the clash, and the end result reflected the team’s lack of ability to take advantage of sides placed at the lower end of the table.
Olney kicked off and started well enough with a good run out of the visitor’s half by Jake Chalmers. Dunstable were forced to make an early substitution when their number 8 turned his ankle on the hard pitch. Play was mainly confined to the area between the 22m lines, Olney having the edge in the set pieces and Dunstable using the wind to kick for territory.
The first scoring opportunity came from a penalty awarded to the visitors on the home 22. Olney kicked for touch gaining a lineout 10m from the home goal line. Olney won the ball but were bundled into touch to give the home side the throw in. Olney won the ball again and Olney’s skipper Jack Sutton opened the scoring with a try in the corner. The conversion attempt failed and after 15 minutes, as the visitors were led 5-0.
Following the restart, play continued in much the same manner. Olney having to work hard in the forwards to get within striking distance of scoring were rewarded from another penalty, again going for the lineout option near the home ‘22’, they won the ball and set up a driving maul. They carried the ball to the home goal line for Steve Harrison to touch down. Unconverted, this extended the visitor’s lead to 10-0.
Olney played what turned out to be their best rugby of the match in the in the next few minutes. They drove a maul into the Dunstable half and from a knock on by the home side won the ball at a scrum to set up an attack to the home 5m line. The forwards were up to support the move and Euan Walker, at prop, went over for the third unconverted try. This extended their advantage to 15-0, with 30 minutes on the clock. Olney’s winger Lloyd Sweeney was substituted Sean Garvey replacing him.
Then came the worst of the visitor’s performance. From the restart Dunstable ran the ball through the visitor’s defence in a manner that the Olney supporters have witnessed too many times in the last few weeks. This resulted in a try for their three-quarter Luke Ashton, converted by Peter Thompson cutting the deficit to 15-7.
From the kick off Olney were penalised on the Dunstable ‘22’ and the home side kicked for a lineout 30m into the visitor’s half. Olney won the ball but lost it on the ground. Dunstable kicked into the corner for Kev Boland to win the chase and touchdown for an unconverted try, score: 15-12 after 38 minutes.
Following the restart Dunstable were awarded a penalty near the halfway line. They kicked for a lineout just inside the visitor’s ‘22’, winning the ball they fed their backline for their quick winger, Jordan Warner, to score wide out not converted. This gave the home side a 17-15 lead at half time.
Dunstable kicked off for the second half with a change of prop forwards. After an exchange of lines out Olney had the throw in just inside the home ‘22’. They won the ball and drove a maul to 10m from the home goal line. The ball was scrambled into touch by the home defence and Olney won the ball from the lineout to put Kev Scales in for a try, Brandon Kerr added the conversion the lead reverting to the visitors, 22-17.
Play carried on with further substitutions by both sides Olney bringing on Jack Harris for Euan Walker, the game was a spoiling affair the next score coming from a penalty awarded to Olney in front of the home sides goal. Brandon Kerr added the points to extend the visitor’s lead to 17 - 25, 25 minutes into the second half.
Dunstable retaliated when the ball was put in the hands of their winger Jordan Warner who ran the ball from inside his own half. He scored under the posts Thompson adding the conversion to close the scores to 25-24.
Only a try saving tackle by full back Brandon Kerr stopped Warner getting a hat trick, but the home side were not finished. Tries by Dave Tuffer and James Knowle, the second converted by Thompson, with no reply from the visitors, made the win comfortable for Dunstablians at 36-25.