Defeat drags Oaks back into play-offs fight

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An unexpected defeat for Oakham RFC on Saturday has set up an exciting finale to the season as they fight for a single play-off spot.

Second-placed Oaks had opened up a gap ahead of the chasing pack but slumped to a 28-10 reverse with a limp display at Nuneaton Old Edwardians.

The defeat has dragged them back into a scramble for the promotion play-off place in the Midland 2 East (South) with Old Edwardians leaping up to third with their convincing victory against Oakham.

Nuneaton’s win also offers Dronfield, Belgrave and Ashbourne hope, should the Oaks slip up again in their remaining matches, which include a trip to leaders Coalville and away tie at Belgrave to end the season.

Coach Tom Armstrong was unimpressed as he watched his side concede three first half tries on Saturday and another after the interval.

“We were rubbish,” he said, not holding back on the criticism of his side.

“Everything that we did well a week earlier, we failed at on Saturday.

“They were up for the match. They have a big pack, scrummed well and we let them bully us. It was not good. We missed tackles and were too high in the rucks and mauls.

“We scored a good try near the end when we ran from our own 22 - possibly try of the season - but it was too late.”

Tom Burton’s try, converted by Mark Matthews who also kicked a penalty, ultimately made little difference to the result. Fortunately for Oakham they still hold a seven point lead over Old Edwardians in the table.

“We have three games and need to win two,” added Armstrong. “That was the case before Nuneaton so nothing really changes although it would have been nice to have won.”

Due to cup ties and Easter, The Oaks’ next confirmed match is not until April 13 when they host Bakewell but the Coalville match may take place before then after its postponement earlier in the season.

Oaks: Adam Price, Adam Price, Rhys Grieve, Ryan Corner (Phil Gant), Adam Downing, James Beanland, Martin Stimson, Carel Fourie, Adam Varley (Chris Carr), Joe Lunn, Mark Matthews, adam Stimson, Owen Smith, Tom Burton, Dave Wiggin (Tom Armstrong), Will Armstrong.