Having just passed the midway point of the 2014-15 Midland Two East South rugby season Oakham have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in a league which many thought they would struggle in.
In fact the Rutland side have been competitive in every game they have played in, perhaps barring a poor showing at Stewarts and Lloyds, and coming into Saturday’s match against top of the league Northampton Old Scouts they had won four matches on the bounce to move up to fifth in the table.
After for 79 minutes of the game on Saturday at the Showground Oakham ran the runaway leaders close, going into the final play of the game just a point behind before Northampton Old Scouts scored a late try.
At the final whistle the score was 20-14 to the visitors.
Reflecting on the first half of the season Oakham coach Tom Armstrong said: “Everyone is really enjoying it. New faces, new teams and a different league and everyone has stepped up to the challenge.
“It’s making us play better rugby than we have in the past couple of seasons.”
Old Scouts took the lead in the match with an early try but Oakham hit back with a pair of Mark Matthews penalties, with the Oaks making each visit into the Northampton half pay, to trail just 7-6 at the break.
Armstrong said: “It was really pleasing, we defended really well, especially in that first half playing into a strong wind.”
In the second half the teams traded penalties, two for the visiting fly-half and one for Matthews before Oakham earned another penalty in a kickable position and decided to go for the corner.
Like in recent weeks it proved to be the right decision with captain Andrew Wallace crashing over the line from a driving maul after a well taken line out to make it 14-15.
Matthews had a chance to give his side the lead for the first time in the contest but he was off target with his difficult conversion.
In the final moments Northampton made the win safe.
Armstrong said: ““We were losing by one point until the last play and they went over in the corner.
“It made no difference to us because we still got the losing bonus point.
“It was a really good game of rugby and talking to the spectators afterwards it was a good game to watch as well.
“They were top of the league and we stepped up. There was nothing to be ashamed of. We couldn’t have tried any harder or done any more.”
Oakham play their Rutland rivals Stoneygate today in what is hoped will become a long standing tradition.
Kick off is 1.30pm.