PLAY OFF WIN FOR THE ONS
The ONs secured their place in National League 3 for next season with this victory over Worcester Wanderers at Billing Road on Saturday.
OLD NORTHAMPTONIANS 20-5 WORCESTER WANDERERS
They may have been battered,they may have been bruised,they may have been held together by yards of tape and bandage but the ONs were determined to end their season on a high and they certainly did.
They led 10-5 at the break and playing down the slope in the second half they constantly pinned the visitors back in their own half and added a converted try and penalty to run out deserved 20-5 winners.
Wanderers kicked off but a well struck penalty from Alex Rose gave the ONs an early lead.A clever kick from Rose put pressure on the visitors defence and they conceded a 5 metre scrum.Chris McKee picked up,Matt Love drove on and after the visitors infringed the ball was put into touch to set up a drive from the lineout.Josh Peters was stopped just short but when the ball was moved across field Wanderers turned over possession and cleared.A Worcester attack was stopped when Rhys Hughes stole their lineout throw in and on the twenty minute mark the ONs scored their first try.A patient build up saw the visitors defence stretched as play was switched from one side of the field to the other,Rory Seymour,the only ever present,racing through to register his seventeenth try of the season.Rose converted and although the ONs were penalised at the restart,Ollie Meadows’ attempt was wide.Play quickly moved to the other end and despite the ONs camping on the Wanderers line for the following five minutes and also having a one man advantage after a yellow card,they were unable to break down the stubborn defence.Indeed after absorbing this pressure it was Worcester who scored next through flanker Chris Griffiths to make it 10-5 and so it remained to half time.
The second half opened in scrappy fashion with both sides making handling errors but when the ONs found touch deep in opposition territory, Peters caught the throw in before being bundled over the side line.Wanderers managed to clear the danger, however, when the resulting lineout was secured,the home side pack drove on before the ball was released and Dan Napier powered over,Rose adding the extras to give the ONs a 17-5 advantage.And they came close to going further ahead when Lewis Barker made a sniping break before his final pass was just forward and again when Seymour’s pace took him round the defence,he linked with McKee but the return pass was once more adjudged forward.To the great credit of both sides the intensity did not drop and as the game entered the final fifteen minutes it was the Wanderers who returned to the attack.But the ONs tackling was secure whether these attacks came from forward drives,mid field runners or when the ball was spread wide,one particular hit from Tom Harris exemplifying the ONs commitment and after denying the Wanderers a score it was the ONs who finished strongly.A Hughes’charge found Adam Civil in support but he was forced into touch,an ONs scrum gave McKee the opportunity to pick up and drive on and eventually Phil Beaumont forced a penalty at a breakdown and Rose slotted the kick to begin the celebrations.
This victory was a fitting end to Rhys Hughes’ three year tenure as Captain and also to Matt Mills,his Vice Captain during this period.Matt is off to Dubai on a teaching appointment and the whole Club wishes him every success.
ONs:Rory Seymour,Kieran O’Connor,Tom Harris,Matt Love,Dan Napier,Alex Rose,Lewis Barker,Phil Beaumont,Chris McKee,Matt Mills,Josh Peters,Rhys Hughes,Ben Ibrahim,Aaron Cort,Dave Irvine.
Replacements:Robbie Aitchison,Craig Stewart,Adam Civil,Jordan Finlayson-Green.