Watt and Holgate double up as Datchworth score 8
Two wins in a row for the greens
Datchworth produced a fine attacking display as OMT endured a frustrating afternoon at Merchant Taylors' School.
Both sides looked boisterous during their respective warm-up routines; with Datchworth missing both head coach Ian Reid and several key players due to injury and unavailability the rest were keen to make their mark and this showed from kick off.
With the first minute of play providing both sides with a chance to attack it was soon evident that Datchworth's centre partnership of Rice and Nolan were going to pose a problem with and without possession. The villagers' early impatience did them no credit in the opening exchanges, as penalties ruined any phases they strung together and cost them territory too.
The first real threat came through the home side's backs - an OMT lineout deep in Datchworth's 22 gave a good platform for three quick phases before another penalty was given. A very quick tap and go allowed the ball to be spread wide and the villagers were scrabbling across to cover a 4 on 2 overlap - only to be saved by a knock on.
Missing the dependable Sam McBroom, the front row trio of Hollis, Blackwell and Gudgin had to wait almost 15 minutes before the first scrum. They immediately asserted their authority up front, despite a good tussle with OMT's strong tight head. With set piece functioning well, Datchworth couldn't help but concede possession time after time. The first points came through a scrappy affair - the second scrum of the day went wide to Rowlinson but once again OMT had reclaimed possession at the breakdown. The clearance kick didn't go according to plan and remained in goal for Holgate to drop on for the score. The versatile Richard Mills, in the fly half berth for this encounter, added the extras for a 7-0 lead.
Rice and Nolan continued to absorb any of OMT's attacks which mostly came through their own centre partnership - showing some inventive passing techniques and inspired off loads. A midfield tackle kept Nolan down with a hand injury, causing concern from the Datchworth bench but the threat of replacement soon had him on his feet.
Datchworth moved up a gear just before the half hour, Richard Mills cleverly releasing Rice and Nolan in turn to move upfield. Finally camped in the home side's 22, the greens hammered the line through Nolan, Holgate, John Simons and Tom Blackwell (who had been invaluable in controlling many of Datchworth's rolling mauls). OMT's defence held fast yet the visitors were rewarded with a scrum 10m out. With the set pieces still going the way of the greens, the pushover was a formality - Holgate again with the score. Mills' effort from the corner was just wide but Datchworth were very grateful for the 12-0 lead. A quick swap in the forwards was needed - Hugo Dawson on to replace Nick Holland, with John Simons moving into the second row.
The OMT fullback, quiet until this point, collected a misplaced chip inside his own half and showed skill in dancing past three tackles before speeding to the line. The kick was well struck from the corner and OMT were back in the game at 7-12.
The visitors should have increased the lead soon after, but Nolan's pass to the unopposed Watt fell just short and bobbled into touch. From the lineout OMT had numbers wide but chose route one, making ground but losing possession. The resulting counter attack through Grant Roe, and then James Watt saw Datchworth very close but brought down. The ball was popped to Nolan who went to the corner and looked to have scored but alas a knock-on was given.
From the OMT scrum Datchworth's pack surged forward and reclaimed possession. Wood tried to dart through but it was Simons with a pick and go from the ruck who made it over the line. Mills slotted the conversion and Datchworth went into the break with a 12 point lead.
As the second half commenced OMT raised their aggression and Datchworth took time to adjust. With increased pressure up front and midfield, unforced errors and penalties let the home team advance. They scored a well-worked forwards try just wide of the posts, as their steady prop powered over. Duly converted for 14-19.
Datchworth continued to wobble from the restart and OMT pushed forward again. A turnover was sent wide quickly and against the run of play the greens recorded their 4th try and with it a bonus point; Richard Mills finds a gap before sending Watt off into the distance and under the posts. The kick from Mills makes it 14-26. Billy Gatfield enters the fray, replacing John Simons, and provides an opportunity for Datchworth to compose themselves.
Penalties were still costing territory for the visitors but momentum looked to have turned back their way. Mills was again instrumental in the 5th try, with a run of his own to get within 20 yards. With Rowlinson on his right, a simple pass sent him on his way and he finished well by splitting the remaining two defenders with some clever footwork. Captain Nick Gudgin was adamant he'd have done the same, much to the bemusement of anyone in earshot.
Watt soon grabbed his second of the day from a simple string of passes down the line. Max Stannard made his first appearance of the season, denying Watt the chance of a hat-trick.
At 36-14 to the visitors, Morgan Smith produced a subtle pick and pop to Wood from the back of the scrum but the attack was well defended. The next passage of play consisted of kicks back and forth, ending with a home defensive lineout.
The closing ten minutes provided plenty for the spectators. A green scrum was halted short of the line before Smith again picked blind. Sharp thinking from Wood saw Dylan Rice burst through onto a pass back inside. Mills converted for 43-14.
Straight from the restart Mills chipped over, with Rowlinson bundling the defender over for a 5m scrum; another pushover saw Morgan Smith, another product of Datchworth's youth setup, ground his first try for the 1st XV. 48-14.
With 80 minutes on the clock, Tom Wood attempted to put the ball out. Another 1000 attempts and he wouldn't repeat events as it magically appeared in the hands of the OMT winger who may as well have moonwalked over the line to finish the match.
A much improved attacking display from Datchworth, who will take many positives from the game including some great individual performances and a show of squad depth. In the second half a galvanised home side could well have taken the lead and were unfortunate not to come away with any bonus points.