Oakham banish relegation fears in successful revenge mission
Oakham gained revenge for their defeat earlier in the season when they ran out 44-12 winners against Stewart and Lloyds at the Showground on Saturday.
The result effectively means that Oakham are relatively safe from relegation from Midlands 2 East (South) as they bounced back from their recent blip at Pinley.
Before the game, the Oakham teams were joined on the pitch by the players from Stewart and Lloyds and Aylestone Athletic – who were playing against the home side’s second team – for a respectful one-minute silence to honour club stalwart Mike Wilson who had recently peacefully passed away.
Mike was a stalwart of the club and their representative to the Leicestershire Rugby Union who he served with distinction as chairman, president and RFU Council Member over many years.
Although not so active in recent years, Mike’s knowledge of the game and sound administrative advice will be missed by all at the club.
The game kicked off with Oakham playing into the wind in the first half and, after a good start, the Stewart and Lloyds backs looked particularly threatening in the early exchanges.
However, after 10 minutes, Oakham struck first with wing Charlie McKie running in an excellent try close to the posts, leaving a relatively easy conversion for Callum Crellin.
Stewart and Lloyds then fought back hard with a converted try of their own.
Spurred on by the crowd, Oakham then regained the lead scoring a well taken try by full back Will Armstrong, converted again by Crellin.
The half ended with prop Rhys Grieve securing a push-over try by the Oakham pack. The conversion kick by Crellin unfortunately hit the post to leave the score at 19-7 to Oakham at half time which was a fair reflection of the commitment and confidence shown by the home team.
The second half opened with Oakham increasing their lead with two early penalties by Crellin.
Oakham then began to demonstrate the dominant rugby that they are capable of. The try scoring machine that is James Beanland secured the try bonus points by touching down for a fourth try, the conversion being narrowly missed by Crellin.
Play went backwards and forwards with neither team prepared to concede much ground or able to gain the advantage until Oakham broke the deadlock with another try, this time scored by centre Stephen Dachtler, the conversion put once again easily between the posts by Crellin.
Not giving up, nor to be outdone, Stewart and Lloyds fought back to score an unconverted try.
Oakham’s powerhouse Stee Vukinavanua had the final say, driving over to score in the dying minutes of the game, once again converted by Crellin.
It was a truly committed display by a fired-up Oakham team who were also relieved that no injuries were picked up this week.
At the same time a good-natured game in the Leicestershire Merit League was taking place on the second team pitch.
Aylestone Athletic arrived from Leicester with only 13 players but, in the true spirit of rugby, Oakham lent them players.
A competitive but friendly game was excellently refereed by a visiting official from Devon who, being on holiday in the area, rang the Society to offer his services and was duly sent to Oakham.
Oakham were dominant throughout and ran out winners by a large 37-10 margin with tries spread across the team. Captain George Knight was man of the match.