Oakham defeat Stockwood Park in Midlands 3 East (South) clash at the Showground
An excellent Oakham performance on Saturday will stand them in good stead for the second half of the Midlands 3 East (South) season after a 37-13 victory over Stockwood Park at the Showground.
The club's pre-match annual Christmas lunch was very well attended by vice-presidents and their guests resulting in a large crowd who were looking forward to a tight encounter between the third and fourth placed teams as well as the seconds and colts games.
The pitches were in remarkably good condition considering the amount of rainfall over the last week as Oakham kicked off with a slight breeze behind them.
The Oaks went straight on the attack and were rewarded by an early penalty which Callum Crellin struck well giving the home side an early 3-0 lead.
Stockwood promptly hit back and mounted a sustained series of attacks which Oakham managed to repel initially before the visitors quickly moved the ball wide for their wing to cross in the corner for an unconverted try and a 3-5 lead.
The Oaks settled down and started to put together several phases of play as they sought an opening in a stubborn Stockwood defence.
The home pressure eventually told as the pack set up a good position inside the Stockwood 22 before moving the ball wide left then right to create an overlap for wing Tom Easson to score in the corner.
This was followed by a terrific conversion from the touchline by Crellin to give the Oaks a 10-5 lead with 26 minutes gone.
Both sides were struggling to gain ascendancy with Oakham just having the edge before Stockwood conceded another penalty on 33 minutes to enable Crellin to edge Oakham further ahead 13-5.
The half ended with Oakham on the attack, having had most of the possession but not really threatening a further breakthrough.
Stockwood narrowed the scores almost from the kick-off with a well struck penalty which made it 13-8.
Oakham were stung into a response and hit back strongly with a sweeping move involving forwards and backs allowing centre Charlie McKee to drift through for a well taken try as the Stockwood defence opened before him.
It was converted by Crellin to make the score 20-8 with only four minutes of the second half gone.
Most of the attacking play was now coming from Oakham as they began to exert concerted pressure on their opponents.
Following a penalty Oakham kicked for the corner and the ensuing line-out drive was stopped just short.
Several attempts to drive over were thwarted by Stockwood before Pete Rawlinson forced his way over for an unconverted try.
Oakham were now in control of the game and began to play some good rugby with the forwards driving the Stockwood defence backwards with their pick and drive.
Stockwood could only halt the progress by infringing and the penalty was kicked to touch.
From the line-out the drive was held up short before a lovely flat pass from scrum half Crellin enabled fly half Sam Janes to take the ball at pace and pick a line through the defence to score. It was converted by Crellin to leave the score at 32-8 with 15 minutes to play.
Stockwood were still trying desperately to mount further attacks but they were comfortably snuffed out by the Oakham defence who then took every opportunity to turn defence into attack as the game wore on.
From a turnover ball, a splendid box kick by scrum half Crellin saw Oakham retrieve the ball on the full before switching play left, then right allowing James Beanland to cross in the corner for an unconverted try with 10 minutes to play.
The Oaks were seeking to add a further score but an over optimistic pass saw Stockwood seize the loose ball with their wing setting off towards the try line beforekicking aheadand then, at full pace, skilfully picking the rolling ball up to score a fine individual consolation try. which made the final score 37-13.
It was an enjoyable afternoon for all at the club on the last home game of the year with the second team winning against Aylestone St James and the colts going down to a very strong Market Harborough side.
More by this authorJames Bedford