Some days it just doesn’t click..
OB’s 0 – 24 Upminster
Report by Mark Elliott
This Sunday saw that rare animal this season a home game, however courtesy of the weather the pitches were very soft and damp. This was going to make for challenging conditions for both teams as the ball would quickly gain a mud coating. Upminster are always an interesting side to play with a physical pack and a desire to very much play on the front foot. OB’s depleted due to the half term holiday knew it would be a tough game, and again many players found themselves playing out of position.
The opening exchanges where pretty even with both sides hotly contesting the breakdowns as the conditions made handling tricky. However it was Upminster that won the ball inside their half but were able to move the ball wide to their very fast left wing. He showed his speed and skill to get round the OB defence and score under the posts which was duly converted. OB’s stuck to the task and the tackling around the breakdown was particularly effective as the OB pack fought to contain the powerful Upminster runners. The speed of the Upminster defence line was extreme making it difficult for the OB three quarters to get clean ball. This was coupled with a strong Upminster pack putting the OB scrum under severe pressure. Upminster maintained the pressure and were again able to capitalise on their line speed with an interception leading to a second try. The Half ended with a third Upminster try delivered through direct forwards pressure finally bursting over the line.
The second half saw OB’s dig in and fight hard to remain in the Upminster half and try and deal with Upminster line speed. Although OB’s had long periods of play with the ball they were unable to break through the Upminster defence or effectively spread the ball. The attacking play did however leave gaps in the OB’s line and from some good counter rucking Upminster won the ball and were able to capitalise for their fourth try and conversion. The half ended with OB’s deep inside the Upminster 22 where line speed led to several penalties for offiside. The Upminster defence however remained strong and OB’s weren’t quite able to get over the line.
While it is always disappointing to lose there are valuable lessons to be learnt from every match. Our own line speed was perhaps not as quick as it needed to be when in defence, and we did not spread the ball as much as normal when in attack. On the positive side some of the tackling around the breakdown was excellent. The second half also saw an improvement in the OB drive and determination to get over the gain line and play in the opposition half and we ended the match extremely strongly. It was good again to see how the team pulled together despite the need too play out of position and with a number of new faces.
Our thanks go to Titi and the lesser spotted Barnes brothers for helping us to field a team and to James Savage for stepping in as a last minute referee in difficult circumstances (apologies U12s for borrowing your Ref and pitch!)
We have another home match next week and I am sure the coaches will be keen to get the boys down early to ensure there is some time to work on areas highlighted over the last few games. We need to all hope that the rain stays away and gives the pitches a chance to dry out.