Oakham sink Spalding in Midlands 3 East (South) clash at the Showground
Oakham continued their fine run of form when they tightened their grip on second place in Midlands 3 East (South) with a fine 29-5 win against Spalding at the Showground on Saturday.
With only three points separating them from top spot, it sets up an intriguing local derby on Saturday when they visit league leaders Stamford.
The Oaks kicked off on Saturday playing with the breeze behind them with the pitch in good condition despite the heavy rain.
They were quickly in their stride as their scrum dominated the opposition to allow Oakham to attack followed by quick ball to the backs.
This gave full-back Will Armstrong the hance to pick his line and break through the defence to score the opening try which was converted by Callum Crellin with only two minutes on the clock.
Spalding’s heavy pack were struggling to cope with Oakham’s offloading and fast game and were conceding penalties at the breakdown while attempting to slow the game down.
Oakham took advantage and moved from their own half to within 10 metres of the Spalding line thanks to two consecutive penalties kicked to touch by Crellin.
From the line-out a throw to the back enabled the Oaks to set up a driving maul with the ball moved to Ryan Corner at the back allowing him to rumble over for an unconverted try after 10 minutes played which made the score 12-0.
Spalding responded by using their pack to drive at the home defence, but a feature of recent games has been the aggressive Oakham tackling which saw them repeatedly stop their visitors on the gain line and force handling errors.
With 20 minutes gone the Oaks went further ahead as Spalding infringed again and Crellin struck the penalty through the posts to make it 15-0.
Spalding continued to utilise their forwards but were repeatedly repulsed by the Oakham defence with flankers Nick Haughton and John Mitchell in the thick of it, turning over ball.
The visitors once again infringed at the breakdown as Oakham tried to run out of defence and the resultant penalty was kicked deep into Spalding territory.
From a tap penalty Oakham were held just short of the line but were penalised yet again. The Oaks opted for the scrum five metres out, edging slowly towards the line before number eight James Beanland picked up and drove over for the try, converted by Crellin, to leave the score at 22-0 and still 10 minutes left in the first half.
Spalding continued to seek a way through the Oaks defence as they camped in the home 22. The hosts were then reduced to 14 men with flanker Mitchell yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on, however, the visitors were unable to take advantage as the half ended with Oakham 22-0 up.
The second half developed into a similar pattern with Spalding having a lot of possession and spending time in the Oaks 22 but they were unable to break down the excellent defence.
Finally a fine break from Crellin saw the Oaks break into the Spalding half and it was Oakham’s turn to apply the screw and following, a series of pick and drives, the ball was moved to the backs with substitute wing Semisi Drauvaki, following across from the opposite wing, getting on the end of the final pass to score a well-taken try which was converted by Crellin.
With the bonus point secured Oakham brought on substitutes and seemed to lose their focus allowing a spirited Spalding to take back some control of the game.
The visitors were having long periods of possession but were still unable to break the solid Oakham defence until finally, in the dying minutes, they eventually found a way over for an unconverted try as the final whistle blew.
This was a very solid performance by Oakham as they continue to improve and sets them up nicely for the big game this Saturday.
More by this authorJames Bedford