Depleted Launceston overcome spirited Okehampton
By Andy Crighton
Jack Goodman puts in huge performance in the centre and Taje Jenkins caps debut with outstanding effort
The Launceston u16s travelled to Okehampton on Sunday. This is a difficult time for the boys, with plenty going on aside from rugby and with all teams in the same boat, the game went ahead at 14 aside. A great effort from the boys that were able to play.
A reshuffle of positions left Sam Sharman and Ollie Tomkies at 9 and 10 and both lads stepped up with great performances, the longer the game went on, the more comfortable they looked.
The early exchanges were understandably scrappy, with both sides missing players and recent game-time, however, first blood went to Lanson, this was the first game for Tage Jenkins and Leon Jones in a Launceston shirt, although you could tell from their interchanges that they're used to playing together and a silky offload from Leon gave Tage the smallest hole and he stepped his way through the first couple of challenges, then powered over and converted his own score. 0-7.
Although the early breakdowns were messy, it didn't take long for Kane Clements to earn his side a penalty in front of the posts. Kieran Bainbridge went over for a score under the post 0-14
Despite two outstanding last ditch tackles, 5m out from Joe Allen, the big Okehampton no.8 went over for 5-14
Then another quick-fire Okehampton try pulled them closer. 10-14.
As so often happens, this woke Lanson up, the heavy carriers Jack Goodman, Kane Clements and Kieran Bainbridge made some serious dents in the Okehampton line and then Lanson were patient, the backs started to settle and the ball went through the hands, ending with Tage once again showing his class to dot down and convert. 10-21.
Early into the second half and unfortunately Kieran Bainbridge couldn't continue, he'd been making his trademark runs from everywhere, all power, a real thorn in the Okehampton defence.
Kieran's departure was quickly followed by another, Jack Goodman had been having a stormer up to now, making good yardage, unfortunately he went down under heavy contact, breaking his ankle, all the best with your recovery Jack. This meant we were 12 a side now, there was space everywhere and play was loose, the front row club of Kane Clements, Josh Elias and Josh Bakehouse took the ball into the corner, linked up with a series of pick and goes, they were too much for Okehampton once they were within range and Bakie smashed his way over for a lovely touchdown in the corner 10-26
The Lanson forwards made a mess of Oke possession on the floor yet again and Billy Martin took his chance, with some quick thinking and a great pick up, Billy broke clear and ran the length, Keeping the Oke chasers at bay, with a good show of decent, previously unseen pace. 10-33.
Okehampton saved their best till last, scoring first off a classy crossfield kick and then an individual try from their 10, who had looked dangerous all day. 20-33
So, the final score was 20-33, a hard fought win for Launceston, setting the boys up nicely for the last couple of games of the season, which on paper, look like season highlights in the making.
by Rich Stiles