By Jamie Arrowsmith 18/04 Updated: 18/04 12:59
Berkswell and Balsall 31 Old Laurentians 12
Midlands Two West (South)
LEAGUE champions Berkswell proved too strong for Old Laurentians on Saturday as a powerful first half display carried them to victory.
The hosts employed their familiar tactics of achieving forward domination to grind out what was ultimately a convincing win over an OLs side who had no answer to their power up front in the first 40 minutes and slumped to a 21-0 deficit by half time.
OLs responded in a much more positive fashion in the second half to put their hosts under some pressure and claw back two tries, but then allowed the home side to add two late tries to give the final scoreline a slightly lopsided look.
Berkswell opted for a scrum as early as the ninth minute when awarded a close in penalty and drove OLs back over their line for a try.
The hosts were soon reduced to 14 men though when their openside flanker was shown a red card six minutes later for kicking Ricky Reed as he lay on the ground.
Despite being a man down, Berkswell’s forward power did not appear to be diminished and their pack drove over for two more tries to make it 21-0 after 32 minutes.
OLs’ difficult afternoon continued as full back Ben Wiles had to retire from the action, to be replaced by brother Scott for his first taste of league action for some time.
With their left wing banished to the sin bin just before half time, Berkswell were playing with 13 men for the early minutes of the second period and OLs were now playing down the slope with the brisk, diagonal wind in their favour. They got on the scoreboard within three minutes of the restart when quick hands took the ball left then right, setting up a half chance for Simon Bayliss which he took with aplomb from 40m out.
The score was tainted by another piece of unsavoury action when Jon Bean, retrieving the ball for the conversion, was allegedly caught by the elbow of the B&B touch judge as he ran towards the posts. He recovered after attention but missed the conversion; and the referee, not having viewed the incident fully, advised the touch judge to hand over the flag.
OLs took the game to their opponents for the next 30 minutes with the pack having gained parity with their opposite numbers in all phases.
But Berkswell’s tactics appeared to be to concede penalties when OLs threatened as the count against them must have been approaching 15 over this period. The tactics worked though as they regularly disrupted OLs’ momentum without suffering any yellow cards.
But their defence must also take much of the credit as OLs, now with the bulk of possession and territory, failed to capitalise on the chances they created until the 67th minute when quick line-out possession and good combination play saw flanker Andy Orbinson go over under the posts, Bean converted to cut the gap to 21-12.
The home side had the last word though as the final whistle approached when their left winger fielded a wayward clearance and waltzed through a posse of statuesque defenders to touch down.
To add the final indignity, Berkswell’s pack heaved over OLs’ line for another pushover try deep into injury time.
OLs entertain Droitwich on Saturday in their final league game of the season.
LUTTERWORTH Cricket Club have been granted £43,200 from
TEENAGE golfing sensation Lauren Taylor has been boosted
RUGBY Town’s Southern League Division One Central play-off
Lutterworth 48 Oadby Wyggstonians 16 Midlands Two East
CAL Crutchlow produced the greatest ride of his short MotoGP ...
BLYTHE Barracudas secured victory in the second round of the ...
Lye Town 2 Southam United 1 HAVING been given a ...