OLD NORTHAMPTONIANS 22-29 OUNDLE
By Michael Parsons
The ONs’ season ends as it began
OLD NORTHAMPTONIANS 22-29 OUNDLE
The ONs’ season ended as it began with a defeat to Oundle.A young and inexperienced team had been well beaten by 46-17 in the opening fixture and although a squad featuring just 5 players from that September fixture led 17-12 at half time at Billing Road on Saturday some of the failings that had contributed to their inconsistent results resurfaced as the game progressed.Tackles which had been made in the previous two games were missed and misdirected and poorly executed kicks out of hand heaped the pressure back on the ONs and led directly to the visitors first try.
Mark Edwards came in at prop and Aaron Cort replaced the injured Guy Holt in the back row.The replacements were Jake Diggin,Zach Draper and Gareth Richards,making just his second appearance of the season(the first being against the same opponents).
The ONs kicked off playing down the Billing Road slope and after squandering an early chance when they lost possession in the Oundle 22,took the lead with Matt Love going over close to the posts and Ben Rivans converting and he added a penalty shortly after before the visitors hit back.A poor clearance kick was returned with interest to the ONs 22 and when the lineout was overthrown Oundle scrum half Harry Winch pounced and strolled through some half hearted tackles to touch down.Joe Sagoe added the two points but was unable to convert when the visitors scored their second wide out on 20 minutes as the ONs’ defence was again found wanting.A well executed lineout drive took the ONs close and although it was stopped the ball was released and moved across field,Jake Spencer hitting the line at pace to dive over and with Rivans converting they led 17-12.Matt Bedden was yellow carded as Oundle stormed forward but the ONs defence was much improved and they managed to hold up a drive over the line as the half time whistle blew.
The onslaught continued on resumption but Oundle spilled the ball forward,Drew Hudson picked up from the base of the ensuing scrum and took play into the visitors half.Quick recycling and inter passing sustained the attack and Rivans squeezed over in the corner to give the ONs a 10 point lead.Oundle regained possession from the restart eventually forcing a scrum 15 metres out and although Hudson managed to tidy up as the ONs eight were driven backwards he was penalised for holding on as support was slow to arrive.Oundle chose to re-scrum and Rob Shingles drove over from close range,Sagoe adding the simple conversion,22-19.Hudson was injured attempting to stop the score and whisked off the A&E and towards the end of the third quarter Oundle second row Dan Page powered in for the bonus point try and a 24-22 lead.Full back Gabriel Smithson finished another prolonged Oundle attack to extend that lead to 29-22 but there was still time for the ONs to come back however after another sweeping move took them deep into opposition territory a poor final pass went to ground and the opportunity was lost leaving Oundle the victors.
ONs:Ben Rivans,Ollie Spencer,Jake Spencer,Alex Crofts,Mike Bellamy,Matt Love,Matt Watts,Aaron Cort,Drew Hudson,Ash Fullthorpe,Chris Reid,Matt Bedden,Craig Stewart,Dave Irvine,Mark Edwards.
Replacements:Jake Diggin,Zach Draper,Gareth Richards.
Man of the Match:Ben Rivans