Olney missed out on a spot Midlands Intermediate Cup final as they were soundly beaten 36-17 by Kenilworth.
It was a battle of the table toppers as Olney, leaders of Midlands 2 East South welcomed the Midlands 2 West North league leaders to the Recreation Ground on Saturday to lock horns for a spot in the final.
The visitors kicked off and their game plan was soon apparent. They followed up in numbers and gained a lineout near Olney's '22'. They won the ball but the roles were reversed when Olney had the throw in at a lineout on the other side of the pitch. The ball was won and Olney's forwards drove into the visitor's half. An interception gave the visitors possession and Michel Anderson ran the ball to the home goal line to touchdown in the corner. Ed Harrison added a fine conversion to put the visitors on the scoreboard after just three minutes.
Olney's kick to restart was returned with a long kick into touch in the home '22'. Kenilworth took the ball on the home side's throw in and Olney did well to reclaim it and attack in the forwards. Play was interrupted for an injury to Olney centre, Stuart Livesey. Fortunately after some attention on the pitch by physio, Sinead, he stayed on.
A series of penalties restricted play to lines out until an infringement in front of goal. This resulted in a penalty that was successfully converted by Ed Harrison for the visitors to extend their lead to 10-0 on the half hour mark.
The Kenilworth defence was very well drilled, they acted together to fill the gaps. The home side were not able to open space for their 'quick's' in the backline.
A kick by the visitors was overcooked and Olney had the doubtful benefit of a '22' drop out. Receiving, Kenilworth attacked in their forwards with the backs joining in. The result was another try under the posts for Anderson, converted by Ed Harrison to go in 17-0 ahead at the interval.
Olney kicked off for the second half but were penalised for 'offside'. The visitors elected to take a scrum on the centre spot. The Olney pack gained possession but a knock on gave the advantage back to Kenilworth with another scrum. They won the ball and fed their backline. Olney defended well but were penalised. The visitors finally broke through and scored a try though their forwards. Sam Harrison made the touchdown and Ed Harrison nailed the conversion for 24-0.
Olney kicked off and took the scrum option when the visitors were penalised for offside. They won the ball and fed their backline. The threes found some space and flanker Glen White, backing up, ran in a try to reduce the arrears to 24-5.
Kenilworth kicked off and were awarded a scrum near the Home '22' line. Olney suffered the loss of their hooker Matt. Boddy, shoulder injury. The pack had to be re jigged and Dan Frossell came off the bench. Inevitably the visitors increased their lead. An attack by their forwards culminated in a touch down by Josh Emery, converted by Ed Harrison for 31-5.
Despite all the adjustments to the Olney pack they were beginning to make things uncomfortable for the visitor's eight. As play progressed through a series of scrummages and a sprinkling of penalties Olney found it necessary to introduce some fresh legs. Olney took off Stu Livesey and Will Edwards and brought on Harry James and Dan Frossell. The move paid off when they were awarded a penalty. Olney ran the ball in the threes and Dan Frossell was on hand to take the ball, wide out, and touchdown in the corner. Jordan Letts added the conversion with a fine kick from near the touch line to bring it back to 31-12.
With the end in sight Olney had to face the opposition short of their scrum half, the referee sending him to the bin. The infringement was near Olney's goal line and the visitors elected to take the scrum option. They scored a pushover try, attributed to Bob Thompson for 36-12.
Olney kicked off and Kenilworth counter attacked. They were penalised at the breakdown and Olney kicked long. They followed up and claimed possession. The ball was put in the hands of the backs and Euan Irwin finished the move with the final try of the afternoon.