Mitchell makes his mark with try in comeback after Australian sojourn
Oakham gained a much-needed Midlands 2 East (South) success with a 28-12 home victory over visiting Market Bosworth on Saturday.
The Rutland side had done into the contest against a Bosworth team, sitting just above them in the table, knowing it was a game they had targeted as a possible win.
Fielding their strongest side for some weeks, they also knew that, following their recent hiccup against bottom club Huntingdon, they would have to put in a much better display than of late.
Both sides used the ball well in the early exchanges before Oakham put themselves into the opposition 22 with a penalty.
From the line-out Oakham moved through the phases before spreading the ball wide and a try looked on, but the referee had spotted foul play and dismissed Bosworth’s hooker to the bin. Crellin kicked the resultant penalty to give the Oaks an early lead 3-0.
Bosworth then had a period of possession as they camped in the Oakham half, but the Oaks’ defence held firm before they seized on a loose ball with Armstrong and then Beanland making good ground before kicking ahead.
Sam Weatherall followed the kick and harassed the defenders into errors before kicking on and winning the race to the line. The try was converted by Crellin and the Oaks were ahead 10-0 after 15 minutes.
Bosworth were not out of the game with Oakham having to defend several phases of attack.
However, when in possession, the Oaks were playing a combination of forward drives and offloading which was testing the Bosworth defence.
Following a long kick by fly half Sam Janes, Oakham set up camp in Bosworth’s 22 and then a break by centre Jonno Milnes saw them almost to the line.
The ball was recycled and moved left where flanker John Mitchell, playing his first game back after his sojourn in Australia, crossed for a try.
The conversion was missed, but Oakham were beginning to build a useful lead with a 15-0 advantage after 25 minutes had been played.
The visitors realised they had to get back into the game and produced their best spell of the game, but Oakham looked to have weathered the storm with some last-ditch tackling keeping their try-line intact.
The continued pressure eventually told though and Bosworth forced their way over for a converted try just before half-time to make it 15-7.
The second half started with Oakham playing some good attacking rugby and, following a break by Will Armstrong, managed to find some space for wing Alex Durno to cross in the corner. The conversion was missed leaving the score at 20-7.
Despite the scoreline Bosworth were still giving the Oakham defence some problems with their driving mauls.
The Oaks knew that the key for a win lay in retaining possession and not giving the ball away carelessly since their attack looked to have the upper hand the more the game went on.
With 20 minutes remaining the Oaks stretched their lead again as Crellin added to his tally with a well struck penalty to make it 23-7.
Bosworth then hit back with an unconverted try to narrow the lead to 23-12 with 10 minutes to play.
But the Oaks then finished the game as the quick thinking Crellin rejected a kickable penalty, took a quick tap and moved the ball quickly to Armstrong who put Weatherall over to ensure a much-needed victory and an additional try bonus point.
Oakham 2nds made it a double over Bosworth with a 34-26 comeback victory.
A great team display saw captain George Knight, ably assisted by team manager Paul Hern, rotating the subs and lending their experience in a good competitive game which was enjoyed by both sides.