OH welcomed Luton to Croxdale following a tough away fixture the previous week at North Walsham. With a few new combinations across the team (including 2 forwards in the centres) and Will Skelton-Longhill adding some extra ballast into the row, the focus was on sticking to the usual game structure and relying on a strong set piece to keep possession.
The first half largely went to plan, with a dominant scrum marching Luton back at every opportunity and the Luton lineout being challenged consistently. The first try came after 5 minutes with James Clarke bursting through the Luton line unchallenged. This was quickly followed by a score from his centre partner Harry Briffitt (AKA Griff). Luton continued to make ball retention difficult by challenging strongly at the ruck and were ultimately rewarded when the scrum half took a quick tap penalty and sent the ball wide for their first score.
Habs’ strong scrummaging continued and after several scrum-based penalties, the referee rightly awarded a penalty try. Special mention to the loose head prop Gus Baryah who had a very competent debut. Two more tries followed in the first half with a second for James Clarke and one for Brick Top. 4 of the 5 tries converted successfully by Ian McGhee.
HT – 33-5
Two more tries from the flying Ben Charles followed in the second half but there was then a considerable drop in the quality of rugby. Luton now set out to spoil and disrupt, with the game now well beyond their reach. Following a yellow card, one of the Luton players then received a red card for throwing the ball into the OH supporters. This appeared to be aimed either at Mrs. Charles (Ben’s mum) or at the injured Sleepbrook. The investigation continues.
Luton continued to attempt to disrupt and were now happy to try and play from any area of the pitch. Their second try soon came. The match now becoming very scrappy, a 2nd red card appeared for another of Luton’s players after many infringements and complaining to the ref. Despite the numerical advantage, Habs with the game already wrapped up could not add any further to the scoreboard.
Many thanks to Clarkey’s mum for some delicious home-made brownies and a birthday cake for her son’s 45th birthday.
Next game for OH is away at Eton Manor with only 2 points separating the teams.