Intelligent rugby gets Oakham the stormy victory

Oakham RFC v Melbourne RFC, January 25, Midlands Two East (North). Photo: Andy Balmford
Oakham RFC v Melbourne RFC, January 25, Midlands Two East (North). Photo: Andy Balmford
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Oakham’s confidence is so high after a fine run of form in 2014 that they were left disappointed not to secure a winning bonus point win over visiting Melbourne.

The Oaks did score three tries in their 19-5 home win over Melbourne on Saturday.

Head coach Tom Armstrong said: “It was another good win for us, especially considering the weather.

“We had to go off for the thunder and lightning in the second half, we had about a 15 minute break. But it didn’t put us off.”

Matt Dalton, fresh from scoring a hat-trick last week against Loughborough, notched Oakham’s first try of the day, the diminutive winger touching down in the corner to score.

The home side were having the better of the exchanges but struggled to make it tell on the scoreboard.

Armstrong said: “We had a lot of possession playing in their 22 but we were trying to push the final pass too much and nothing was coming off.”

However the Oaks finally made their overwhelming majority of possession tell when the home side’s other winger, Will Barrows, got in on the act to touch down and score a converted try.

Armstrong said: “We got the ball out wide well. We are not afraid to play wide rugby even with the difficult conditions.”

After the break Oakham came out and played smart rugby, pinning the travelling side deep into their own half.

Despite playing into the wind in the second half, and putting aside concerns that they had not scored enough points with the advantage behind them, Oakham continued to impose themselves on the game.

Armstrong said: “We played well, kept the ball down their half of the pitch so they had to play all the rugby down their end.”

Having blitzed the visitors with tries from both the wide men, the Oakham pack then showed the powerful Melbourne eight they had some tricks of their own.

Man of the match Pete Woolston sat at the back of a powerful maul, which he rode in to score.

The conversion made the score an unassailable 19-0.

With Oakham almost out of sight and taking their foot off the gas the visitors scored a consolation try.

Oakham’s Carol Fourie was shown a yellow card and Melbourne used the advantage of numbers to score.

The visitors kicked the resulting penalty from Fourie’s departure into the corner and their powerful pack mauled over for Melbourne’s only score.

In the final minute Oakham pushed for the fourth bonus point try.

Melbourne were camped on their five metre line and twice number eight Angus Boyle was over the line only to be held up.

Armstrong said the failure to secure the bonus point was frustrating but he was pleased with the way his side applied themselves.

He said: “It was an intelligent win in the conditions. We played the right rugby in the right areas of the pitch and that was pleasing to see.”

Oakham have a break from action this weekend before playing bottom of the league Melton Mowbray away on February 8.

Oakham remain in fourth position in Midlands Three East (North).