Oldfield are a team in mighty fine form…
…And when they upped the intensity in the second half, they overcome a resistant and stubborn Paignton team; making amends for an earlier season defeat.
Paignton started with assurance and kept the ball well going through the phases but were well marshalled by an organised and committed Oldfield defence. However, an infringement at the breakdown allowed for a penalty to be slotted giving visitors Paignton, an early 0-3 lead.
Oldfield started to get into the game, but some minor handling errors meant momentum was skewed and the game entered a stop start period as the breakdown also became a bit of a free for all. From a penalty, Oldfield opted for the corner and the returning Jacob Fields hit his target and the resulting drive powered over the line for a score for second row, Sam Weier, thanks to the great work from the home eight Ian Thomas and the steering from “Messiah” McGuire and Oldfield led 5-3.
Paignton then enjoyed their best period of the game and went through numerous phases in the Oldfield 22, but some fine defence kept the visitors at bay. As Paignton kept pounding the line a great turnover allowed for an Oldfield break out and the ball was punted down the field, the Paignton winger got to the ball first and with the defensive line broken up and chaotic, some good attacking interplay from the visitors resulted in a fine try in the corner, which was unconverted.
Some greater attacking play resulted in little reward for Oldfield as a couple of missed penalties from Oldfield’s Zak Ellis saw the score 5-8 to Paignton at half time. Oldfield came out in the second half with a stiff breeze behind them and displayed more urgency and coherency in attack. The ambition was clear to see, as Oldfield pressed hard for a score and Josh Felix, McGuire and Isaac Weier all went close. A turnover in the Oldfield half resulted in Will Owen receiving the ball and he effortlessly beat 3 defenders as he cantered into the 22, he was hauled down 5m out and another handling error let Paignton off the hook once again. With Fields coming off at half time, lineouts were best avoided, but Oldfield had the edge in the scrum and aside from a couple of breakouts from deep from Paignton, Oldfield were very much in command.
From a well-worked backs strike, Felix ghosted down the line and some excellent scramble defence nullified the attack 5m out as continuity was disrupted with a handling error. Oldfield eventually got their reward when the impressive, Isaac Weier, ran through a weak tackle and accelerated away from the defence to score a try under the posts, which Ellis converted, 12-8 to Oldfield. The opposition were now looking a little dishevelled due to the pace of the game and I Weier again broke through some tackles and McGuire sniped, but was held up and young second row, Aidan Ascott, also came close to scoring. Then, a clever chip from McGuire bounced kindly for Owen to dot down, but the referee blew up for a late tackle rather abruptly and the advantage wasn’t allowed.
Oldfield had obviously relaxed after the score and some robust carries from all the forwards allowed for many attacks to be initiated and when the ball was moved to I Weier, he burst through and fed the supporting Sandy Brown who sprinted over from 15m to finish off a great team score. Several Oldfield attacks were blunted by blatant slap downs when scores were evidently on offer and referee Hillier belatedly lost patience with Paignton and sent a forward to the bin for 10 minutes. With time running out the bonus point victory was sealed when Captain Sean Lilley stepped inside the drifting defence after several phases and he ran in an impressive score from the 22 and McGuire converted to bring the final score to 24-8.
This was a fine way to sign off what will be the last Shaft Road fixture this season and as Oldfield continue to gain momentum, their thoughts now turn to Tuesday’s cup semi final against local rivals Midsomer Norton, where the victors will grace the Recreation Ground for the Final on Wednesday 25th April playing the winners of the other semi-final, Chippenham v Bath University. A club spokesman commented, “This is an exciting and challenging end to the season, which incorporates 3, possibly 4 games in 8 days, including a mammoth trip down to Penryn on Saturday 21 April, where Oldfield could potentially cap an excellent first season in SW1 West, as a victory may result in a 3rd place league finish.”
Oldfield OB RFC v Midsomer Norton RFC Bath Combination Semi-Final this Tuesday 17 April, Lambridge, 7:30pm KO.
Match Report written by: Red Army Fan 99
Match Photos by: Donna Bunton.