Rugby Union
Leaders are halfway there

By Jamie Arrowsmith Wednesday 19 December 2012 Updated: 19/12 16:05

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Buy photos » Captain James Melvin crosses for his first try as OLs 2nds defeated Rugby St Andrews on Saturday. Picture by Ray Todd.

Dunlop 15 Old Laurentians 35

Midlands Two West (South)

OLs ended the first half of the season sitting top of the table after securing a comfortable bonus point victory against potentially tricky opponents in the form of fifth placed Dunlop on Saturday.

Having absorbed the best that Dunlop could offer, OLs opened play up in the second half and their pace and invention was too much for the home side to handle as they added three tries to the two registered by the break.

Dunlop opened strongly, intent on demonstrating their forward power to the visitors. But their pick and go tactics foundered on strong OLs’ defence, as it was to do for the whole game.

Then, after just three minutes, they moved the ball along their line, OLs’ pressure in midfield forced a handling error and Simon Bayliss seized on the loose ball to run in unhindered for the first try, Jon Bean converted.

With 16 minutes gone, great work by James Orbinson sent Dom Hammond away on the Dunlop 22 and the hooker cut through with the pace and style of a centre to score under the posts, Bean improving his try.

OLs were now dominating territorially and the rewards came through two penalties by Bean to lift the score to 20-0.

Late in the first half the home side succeeded in breaking out of their half to threaten OLs’ line and were rewarded with a try of dubious authenticity to make it 20-5 at the break.

Now with the wind behind them, Dunlop increasingly put their reliance on a kicking game, as their backs had made little headway with the ball in hand, but they found Lee Hersey at full back absolutely solid under the high ball and hard to hold when he ran the ball back.

OLs decided that the best way to attack Dunlop was the simple way - cut out the intricate moves and spin the ball wide. The home side added a penalty to their score to reduce the margin to 20-8 but OLs were now beginning to give their defensive capabilities a searching examination.

With 58 minutes on the clock, OLs won a line-out on the Dunlop 22 and the forwards drove the ball on before timing the release well, quick hands moving the ball right for Hersey to deliver the scoring pass to Bayliss.

OLs scored an almost identical try five minutes later when good line-out possession was driven on, but moved in the opposite direction and Troy Owen went over on the left wing, increasing the lead to 30-8.

Dunlop lifted their game as the match ebbed away but in a prolonged assault could find no way through OLs’ defence, until a well directed chip to the corner gave their right wing a chance which he took well, the goal points added with a fine kick from the touchline.

OLs’ riposte was swift. An attack down the right flank was held, the movement was switched left and just stopped close to the line, followed by a scrum on the Dunlop 22.

Richard Parker sniped around the fringe and the ball was moved cleanly away for Bayliss to claim his hat-trick try, the 21st of the season for OLs’ right wing.

OLs move into the second half of their league programme on Saturday when they entertain Leamington at Fenley Field (2.15pm).

THE 2nds cruised to a 56-0 victory against an understrength Rugby St Andrews 2nds at Fenley Field.

Skipper James Melvin scored the game’s first try and that was followed by Greg Clarke going over after picking a great line.

The hosts then sucked in Saints’ players at the ruck and released their backs, resulting in Melvin crossing again.

Centre Matt Cockman was powering through any attempted tackles and it was no surprise when he added a fourth try under the posts.

Ben Roberts was impervious with his kicks, having converted all of the first half tries to give OLs’ a 28-0 half time advantage.

Saints mounted an early period of pressure in the second half but they could not manage to breach the home side’s defence.

Great handling led to Roberts outstripping the chasing pack for a try before Jack Riley added to the visitor’s woes by recording two powerful bursts over the line.

Grant Inch added try number eight and Roberts never looked like missing with the conversions to record a personal 21 point haul.

INJURY to a Southam player meant the 3rds away day was abandoned after 50 minutes with them leading 7-5 at the time.

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