Injuries and unavailabilities hit Oakham in biggest defeat of the season
A much-changed Oakham side weakened by a series of injuries and unavailabilities suffered their biggest defeat of the Midlands 2 East (South) season after a 64-7 defeat at second-placed Luton on Saturday.
On a dry pitch with a light wind, conditions were ideal for running rugby and in the initial exchanges Oakham managed to make inroads in to the Luton half before being awarded a penalty.
From the ensuing lineout Oakham got themselves into a good position but their advantage was given away by conceding a penalty at the breakdown.
Oakham continued to dominate possession in the first 20 minutes without being able to make much headway against the Luton defence.
Whenever Luton had the ball they were looking the more accomplished side but Oakham were defending well until the 13th minute when the hosts set up a maul 30 metres out.
Their scrum half then caught Oakham napping as he shot away down the unguarded blind side to score in the corner. The conversion was missed.
The game settled into a pattern with Luton dominating the scrums and looking dangerous in possession but a combination of solid Oakham defence and home handling errors preventing them from adding to their score.
Then from a scrum 30 metres out their scrum half again raced away before spinning out of several tackles to score near the posts. The conversion was a formality to make it 12-0 with 30 minutes gone.
Oakham continued to defend well until just before half-time when the Luton wing was put through the midfield in a lovely move to cross under the posts. However, he then manged to drop the ball over the line and the Oaks were let off the hook.
Their relief was short-lived as Luton were awarded a free kick at the ensuing scrum, spreading it wide to catch Oakham’s defence napping and score in the corner which was converted to Increase Luton’s lead to 19-0.
Luton were now gaining the upper hand to again increase their lead as the Oaks conceded another try in the fifth minute of injury time which was converted to make the half-time score a rather flattering 26-0 to Luton.
Oakham had defended well but just a couple of missed tackles had allowed Luton to take full advantage and score 14 points in the last few minutes of the half.
Luton started the second half in complete control and within three minutes had sliced Oakham apart to cross for an unconverted try in the corner to make it 31-0.
Within seven minutes Luton went further ahead and were stealing the Oakham ball at lineouts and from one such steal scored again for a 43-0 lead.
Luton were continually attacking a tiring Oakham defence with strong running forwards and backs combining to open up gaps all over the field.
From a drive close to the Oakham line they powered over again to increase the score to 50 -0.
Oakham were still attempting to stem the Luton onslaught but to no avail as the home fly half put his centre away to score under the posts.
A last ditch tackle by Laurence Sidwell stopped another certain try but Luton recycled the ball to power over again to make it 64-0.
The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Oakham as they kicked a penalty to the corner, won the catch and drive before moving the ball left. Will Armstrong then cut inside, stepping past three or four tackles before scoring a consolation try for Oakham, converted by Crellin to make the final score 64-7.
Some great defence by Crellin, Armstrong, Gouldsborough, Turnbull and Milnes plus others had prevented a hugely embarrassing score but, considering the team which took the field, it could have been worse. Nobody gave up despite being heavily outclassed by a very good side.