Oakham unable to spoil the championship party
Oakham were unable to spoil visiting Oadby’s championship party as the visitors clinched the Midlands 2 East (South) title with a 68-17 victory at the Showground on Saturday.
The newly-crowned champions were worthy winners as a tough season for Oakham, who have battled through a succession of injuries and unavailability to key players all season, took its toll.
In front of a large crowd, Oadby were in no mood to let the opportunity to win the title slip by.
From the kick- off they set about their task with relish forcing Oakham to concede a five-metre lineout.
Oadby won the ball and caught the Oakham defence dog-legging for their centre to cut through and score a converted try under the posts and the hosts were 7-0 down after three minutes.
The early setback has become an all too familiar trend for Oakham in recent weeks and there was to be no respite as Oadby turned over what had been a promising home attack and launched a quick counter.
A certain try was saved by a great tackle from Oakham’s captain Will Armstrong but Oadby were quick to recycle the ball spreading it wide to run in another try again which was converted and the hosts trailed 0-14 with barely 10 minutes played.
The Oaks at last started to play and, following a series of drives, were awarded a penalty which was converted by Callum Crellin to open their account.
Even better was to follow as the ever-alert Crellin intercepted a pass to make good ground towards the Oadby line before being hauled down.
Oakham recycled quick possession and Armstrong side-stepped his way through the Oadby defence to score. The try was converted by Crellin to leave the score at 10-14 after 20 minutes.
Oadby then stepped up a gear to banish any thoughts of an upset, kicking to the corner before good defence thwarted the catch and drive to the line.
Oadby worked their way infield before their big prop crashed through to score near the posts to increase the lead on 25 minutes to 10-19.
The visitors now were playing with confidence and were controlling play with only some sloppy play by Oadby and last ditch tackling by Oakham preventing what looked like certain further scores.
Whenever Oakham were not playing badly when in possession but Oadby were ferocious at the breakdown frequently turning over home ball and launching quick attacks which had the hosts defence stretched to breaking point.
Oadby were soon increasing their lead again with another try created out wide by their backs to lead 10-26 after 33 minutes.
It was now one-way traffic as Oadby’s backs continued to break through a fading Oakham defensive line. Two m0re tries were scored before half-time bringing the score to 10-39.
Oakham brought on substitutes at half-time to try and add fresh impetus to the side.
This seemed to work as Oakham retained some possession and for the first 10 minutes of the half looked threatening but once again lost possession in a good situation.
Oadby quickly counter-attacked and scored another try to lead 10-46 ten minutes into the second half.
Stee Vukinavanua then gave the home crowd something to cheer about as he received the ball on the Oadby 22 before blasting past would-be tacklers and showing a wonderful side step beating the full back to score under the posts. This temporarily gave the score some respectability at 17-46.
Unfortunately for the Oaks, Oadby were in determined mood and intent on showing everyone why they are champions.
A tough afternoon for the Oakham players resulted in a final score of 17-68. The hosts had no complaints and congratulated their opponents on a fine performance with Oadby deservedly being crowned league champions.