Oakham defeat Daventry in Midlands 3 East (South) clash at the Showground
Oakham defied a mounting injury list as their much-changed side claimed a well-earned 31-22 home victory over Daventry in Saturday’s Midlands 3 East (South) clash at the Showground.
The contest gave coach Alun Meadows a chance to run the eye over some second team players and switch a few players into different positions.
Despite the heavy rainfall during the week the pitch had recovered remarkably and with little wind conditions were much better than anticipated.
From the kick off Daventry recycled the ball and hoisted a high kick into midfield which caused confusion in the Oakham ranks as the ball was allowed to bounce and promptly fell into the arms of an onrushing player.
Two passes later and Daventry had scored with barely two minutes on the clock, although the conversion was missed.
Oakham regrouped from the early setback and, following a Daventry infringement, kicked to touch to set up a five-metre lineout.
The ensuing drive slowly edged towards the line before releasing for the Oaks to launch a series of attacks finally breaking the defence by passing the ball out of a tackle to the great delight of the supporting Lewis Crellin to force his way over for a debut try at first team level.
Converted by brother Callum to keep it in the family, this give Oakham a 7-5 lead.
The success was short-lived as with eight minutes gone Daventry won good ball from a scrum and, with the Oakham defence retreating, a flat pass saw their centre cut a good line straight through the backline before rounding the full-back to score a converted try under the posts.
It had been a whirlwind start and the result of the game looked likely to depend on which side were going to sort out their defence first.
Both sides then settled down with defences gaining some semblance of order before Daventry infringed at the breakdown.
Oakham kicked to touch to set up a line-out 10 metres out where a good catch and drive saw the hosts almost to the line before Rhys Grieve seized the ball and drove over, converted by Callum Crellin to put the Oaks 14-12 ahead with 25 minutes played.
Oakham then forgot the lesson of the previous week as they attempted to put the game beyond Daventry by running the ball from everywhere instead of making the game safe.
Scorning three kickable penalties while failing to increase their lead, Daventry were still well in the game as the half-time whistle blew with the score remaining at 14-12.
Both teams started the second half well with their defences holding out against some good attacking play.
Oakham were using the kicking game and were driving Daventry with wing Tom Easson and Jimmy Rossillo to the fore chasing down kicks to stifle any counter attacks.
This tactic paid off with the Daventry full back caught near his own line. Oakham won the ball and following a series of drives Matt Lammin then picked up to cross for an unconverted try.
Callum Crellin then missed a penalty before Daventry attempted to run the ball out of their 22. The alert James Beanland saw his chance, intercepting a pass before outpacing the defence to score a fine opportunist try under the posts, converted by Callum Crellin for a 26-12 lead.
This did not seem to faze Daventry and Oakham started to fall foul of the referee by conceding a string of penalties at the breakdown as they attempted to slow the ball down.
Daventry took advantage and, following another penalty kicked to touch, won the line-out and drove to the line before switching the ball wide to score an unconverted try in the corner to make it 26-17 with 18 minutes to go.
Oakham were determined not to repeat last week’s error and allow Daventry back into the game.
Another penetrating kick by Callum Crellin saw Daventry unable to clear as Oakham were awarded a scrum 15 metres out.
A series of Oakham attacks were repelled by Daventry before Callum Crellin sent a long miss pass over the Daventry defence to full-back Ben Shepherd who crossed unopposed for an unconverted try, increasing the hosts’ lead to 31-17 with five minutes to go.
Again, Daventry came back and scored a well taken try in the corner, but the conversion went wide as the full-time whistle.
A win for Oakham which was well earned with encouraging performances from players not used to the pressure of first team rugby and others playing out of position.