Oak’s best performance of the season earns league victory

Oakham RFC v Leicester Forest. Photo: Andy Balmford EMN-140812-095523001
Oakham RFC v Leicester Forest. Photo: Andy Balmford EMN-140812-095523001

Oakham RFC put in one of their best performances of the season on Saturday to defeat Leicester Forest 21-3 at home in the Midlands Two East South Division.

Influential fly-half Mark Matthews scored 11 points with the boot and had a hand in both of Oakham’s tries, getting fouled to win a penalty try and then setting up Toby Daw’s second half effort with a kick.

But while the back got most of Oakham’s point it was an impressive all round performance which takes the Oaks up to sixth in the league.

Coach Tom Armstrong said: “It was a very good result. That’s three in a row now and we have got a bit of momentum going.

“On Saturday we played really well and we probably left a couple of tries out there. “

Armstrong said the victory was built on defence, working hard to offensively tackle their opponents when they were deep in the opposition half to turn Forest possession into pressure.

“We defended really well. They didn’t even get a chance to score a try, just their penalty,” he said.

“Apart from the game against Stewarts and Lloyds our defence has been pretty good this season. On the whole it has been pretty strong.

“All our one-on-one tackling and team tackling was really good.”

Armstrong reserved special praise for the front row of Adam Price, Rhys Grieve and Ed Gomm who responded brilliantly to the physical challenge imposed by the big Leicester pack.

After being pushed off the first couple of scrums the trio dug in to provide parity at the set-piece.

Oakham successfully used Forest’s superior size against them, moving the ball and attacking through the centre channels and out wide to make their large pack tire. And tire they did.

Oakham took the lead with a Mark Matthews penalty kick and were then awarded a penalty try.

The fly-half, who was involved in everything good the back line were doing, took a quick tap and was obstructed by a player not 10 metres as he darted towards the line and the referee had no qualms in marching under the posts and raising his arm. Matthews converted to make it 10-0 at half time.

After the break he increased Oakham’s lead with another penalty kick.

Oakham then suffered a double setback when they were temporarily down to 13 men when both number eight Toby Daw and centre Adam Stimpson were shown yellow cards. Daw for not rolling away from the tackle area and Stimpson for dissent.

But Oakham’s fearsome defence held out and the visitors had just a penalty to show at the end of the two yellow cards.

With the homeside back to full compliments they started the scoreboard ticking again, Matthews adding a third penalty before Daw fortuitously scored. Matthews sent up a high kick and the Forest player attempting to field the ball lost control of it and bundled the ball in to the mits of the chasing number eight who touch down. Matthews conversion made the final score 21-3.