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Oakham extend winning run with victory over Dunstablians in Midlands 3 East (South)




Oakham extended their winning run into double figures after a completing a perfect 10 with a 34-7 home success over Dunstablians on Saturday.

The Bedfordshire side had been the last team to defeat Oakham when they ran out 22-12 winners in the reverse fixture in November.

But they were unable to halt Oakham's charge towards the Midlands 3 East (South) title as the Rutland side maintained top spot with just four games of their season remaining.

Oakham defeated Dunstablians on Saturday. Photo: Charles Hurst Photography (30694302)
Oakham defeated Dunstablians on Saturday. Photo: Charles Hurst Photography (30694302)

Both sides were again faced with a gale-force wind and wet pitch at the Showground as Oakham faced the elements in the first half.

They started brightly with some nice passages of play before they spurned an early score with a loose pass.

The Oaks soon rectified that with a forward drive which prop Ryan corner finished off in style. It was converted by Callum Crellin to put the hosts 7-0 ahead inside the first 10 minutes.

Dunstablians hit back and using their pack and driving maul to good effect pushed the Oaks back into their 22.

Oakham then turned the ball over and broke out of their 22 with wing Tom Easson making good ground before centre Jimmy Rosillo was tackled into touch just short of the line.

Dunstablians threw long at the line-out but the ever-alert Oakham back row pounced on the ball with flanker Nick Houghton eventually working his way over for an unconverted try to make it 12-0 after 15 minutes.

Oakham defeated Dunstablians on Saturday. Photo: Charles Hurst Photography (30694317)
Oakham defeated Dunstablians on Saturday. Photo: Charles Hurst Photography (30694317)

The remainder of the half saw both teams unable to gain the upper hand, Oakham were attempting to use the driving maul but frequently lost the slippery ball in contact, allowing the visitors to make the most of the wind by kicking long to pin their hosts back into their own half.

Just before the end of the half Dunstablians were penalised at a ruck and the referee issued a red card for foul play by a visiting player, reducing them to 14 men for the remainder of the game.

Oakham were confident they could use this to their advantage in the second half when playing with the wind at their backs and having an extra man.

It began to look that way as, from the kick-off, Oakham turned ball over and lock Ben Turnbull broke away downfield before handing on to flanker John Mitchell to score an early try which was converted by Crellin to make it 19-0.

This was quickly followed by the Oaks adding another score as they made touch with a long kick upfield and won the ensuing line-out before driving towards the line.

Quick rucking released the ball to the backs with some slick passing sending wing Ben Shepherd over in the opposite corner. The conversion was missed.

Oakham defeated Dunstablians on Saturday. Photo: Charles Hurst Photography (30694307)
Oakham defeated Dunstablians on Saturday. Photo: Charles Hurst Photography (30694307)

Dunstablians were then stung into action and hit back by shunting Oakham's scrum backwards before being awarded a penalty.

They kicked to touch, won the line-out and their backs broke through some weak Oakham tackling to score a good try which made it 24-7.

Despite being a man down the visitors were starting to get back into the game and, as Oakham’s concentration slipped, they were breaking tackles which previously had been made.

Oakham were having to work hard to keep Dunstablians at bay but, with 10 minutes to go, they resumed control with a well-worked move allowing wing Tom Easson to almost make it to the line before Shepherd dived over for an unconverted try.

Dunstablians again attacked but Oakham's umber eight James Beanland, lurking out on the wing, intercepted a pass and then sprinted the length of the pitch and just about got to the line before being caught by the cover defence to score an outstanding individual try.

Oakham were now rampant at 34-7 ahead and thought they had scored another try in the corner but were adjudged to have been in touch, the referee ending the game to avoid further arguments and confusion.


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