The First XV rounded off January with a comprehensive victory (49-0) against Minchinhampton on Saturday. It was the completion of a clean sweep for the month which saw the squad claim their fourth win from four games, collecting 19 out of a possible 20 league points in the process.
Early rumours of a water logged pitch were sunk and, with credit to the Colston’s ground staff, the paddock looked to be in good condition given the recent inclement weather. With the rain gone and the sun out it was time to get down to business, unfortunately only four members of the squad realised what the time was with everyone else sticking strictly to OC time keeping and turned up late. Special exemption may be extended to Brad following his automobile mishap but that will be left for tour court.
Tardiness and ignorant motorists forgotten the team set about extracting revenge for the defeat suffered in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. There was a decent platform set by the forwards with a strong performance in the scrummage and excellent driving mauls from good lineout possession. The back row worked well as a unit and Ben Neville took full advantage of the good scrummaging with some impressive carries from the base.
Tries began to follow on from the forwards hard work as the possession gained fed into the structure put in place by the coaches. Straight running and effective support lines meant that ball carriers were able to put people into space and some neat offloading opened up the opposition defence time and time again. The effort put in on the training field is paying off.
Aside from the forward’s good work the foundation for this win was laid by the home side’s defence. It is difficult to pick out individuals as the collective effort was so effective, a wall of blue, black and gold was erected and everyone put their body on the line to ensure that no points were conceded. OCs continued to improve on their discipline, set their defensive line and smashed the opposition in the tackle at every opportunity. Special mention must go to Ben Shipwright who gave Minchinhampton’s young fly half a lesson in what to expect from senior rugby, reports are unconfirmed that the youngster was substituted so he could go find some clean underwear.
Nine tries were scored in all with winger Ben Williams breaking his drought emphatically with a hat trick, although James Clow was convinced he got first downward pressure on one of them. Fly half/Physio, Mike Jordan, skipped his way passed would be tacklers to score a great solo try. Unfortunately the same praise cannot be offered for his goal kicking, in spite of a pre-game lesson from injured skipper, OKS, Mike’s radar from the tee was a little off.
Other highlights from the afternoon were provided by Dan Exon who managed to butcher a two on one opportunity five metres from the line, opting to dummy and go himself only to knock on in the tackle from the opposition full back. Clearly still rattled by this “huge” hit Dan also forgot that when taking a free kick you’re supposed to use your foot not your knee to tap the ball, especially when deep in your own twenty two. He obviously felt our scrum defence needed further practise and luckily for him it was up to the job. He recovered well to score later in the game.
A butchered overlap and a poorly executed tap would normally be enough to secure a player the “D*ck of the Day” title but the experienced figure of Dave Moss would save young Dan those blushes. Making his return after a month long sabbatical in New Zealand former skipper Mossy put in a good half an hour shift, picking from the base of a ruck to tip toe his way up a tiny blind side belied his second row frame and showed everyone he’s still got it. However still excited from the yards he gained it was moments later when “young” Mr Moss would deliver the coup de grace to his pulsating second half appearance. Dave worked hard in support to take an offload from yet another of the OCs thrusts into the opposition half, he beat one man and broke another tackle only to discover he didn’t have the legs to make the try line. Unperturbed by this petty inconvenience he looked around for support only to find he was out on his own. Casting aside the shackles usually associated with a second row’s skill set he decided against taking contact and securing possession. Believing himself to have taken on the form of Carlos Spencer, he executed an audacious cross field chip for the youngsters out wide to chase. Gasps and groans followed from the side lines, eyes rolled back in coach Leeky’s head but Mossy displayed faith in his skills and he was relieved to see a blue, black and gold shirted team mate collect and score. During post-match analysis it was decided that the case should also be held over for tour court to deliberate on but it was suggested that not even Bally could get him off this time.
A solid team performance showed what this OC side is capable of and rounded off “Dry” January in style.
Vincimur Vincimus Semper Bibimus