Oakham were knocked out of the RFU Intermediate Cup on Saturday after suffering a crushing 34-5 loss at Southwell.
Oakham were forced to make seven changes from the side which lost narrowly, 19-15, to Belgrave the previous week.
Kicking off with the wind behind them on a wet , greasy pitch and rain setting in, Oakham soon found they were up against a side containing a big ball carrying number eight and some speedy outside backs, coupled with a dominant scrummage.
Oakham needed to defend well but started the game in lackluster fashion allowing Southwell to retain possession in the first ten minutes and severely test the defence. Then from their own 22 Southwell saw space out wide, spun the ball left, and their outside centre then stepped inside to break through the Oakham defence drew the full back and put his wing under the posts. The try was converted to make the score 7-0.
Oakham just could not get their game together and with their lineout and scrum under pressure any advantage they had from the wind in their favour was negated as they couldn’t secure or retain ball.
Once again Oakham conceded ball in their opponent’s 22 and from a quick counter attack Southwell broke out with some slick inter-passing between their backs finally putting their wing over near the posts. The conversion was missed making the score 12-0 after 25 minutes played.
Oakham were looking disjointed and just couldn’t get their hands on the ball resulting in John Mitchell falling foul of the referee at the breakdown one time too many and being sin binned.
Southwell took advantage of their extra man and from a backs move down the right, created by some good offloading, they scored near the posts. However, the referee had spotted a forward pass , play was brought back for a scum awarded to Oakham ten metres from their line. Oakham were then shunted off their own ball and Southwell’s number eight picked the ball up and dove over the line stretching the lead to 17-0 with the conversion missed.
From the second half kick- off , now playing into the wind and lashing rain, Oakham attacked and pinned Southwell down into their 22 but from a high defensive kick from Southwell the Oakham backs allowed the ball to bounce, the ball evaded the efforts of Oakham’s full back and wing, sat up into the arms of the onrushing Southwell wing, who gratefully accepted the gift to score a converted try for 24-0.
This seemed to spark Oakham into life and at last they showed some continuity and ambition as their forwards launched a series of pick and drives which sucked in the Southwell defence. The ball was moved wide and centre Johnno Milnes made good ground into the opposition 22. Oakham set up a series of pick and drives before slipping the ball to wing Ollie Booth who scored in the corner. The conversion was missed from the touchline, 24-5.
Oakham were now playing better and , despite the score-line and rapidly deteriorating weather, attempted to get back into the game with some good forward play and backs inter-passing. They conceded a further penalty, 27-5, and then with the last play of the game Oakham attempted to break away ,got isolated and lost the ball in the tackle , Southwell seized their chance and with the Oakham defence outnumbered their wing was put away to score a final converted try, against the run of play.
Oakham will want to put a one off lacklustre display behind them as they are left to concentrate on the league and cement their recent rise up the table in the home game against Biggleswade next Saturday KO 2.15 .