Oakham RFC Juniors
Match Report - Home v Peterborough 25.9.05Oakham U15's 10 v Peterborough U15's 35
Oakham's first match of the season saw them take to the field with depleted numbers due to an unprecedented number of injuries at this time of year, with the backs division being particularly hard hit. Borrowing a couple of players from Peterborough and 'kidnapping' James Rix who was on his way to help with mini coaching, made up the numbers. Despite the oppositions physically bigger pack, the Oaks game plan was to keep the ball in the tight. Strong scrummaging and aggressive rucking saw Oakham win the battle up front, but they could not take advantage of the amount of ball secured. Peterborough's backs always looked sharp and a couple of breakaway tries didn't help Oakhams cause. However Peterborough ran out deserved winners despite the huge effort of the Oakham forwards. Tries for Oakham were scored by Justin Wretham who stood in at fly half and No.8 Tom Burton.
Team: Elliot Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, James Rix, Jonathon Robinson, Andrew Neil, Tom Toogood, Tom Burton (capt.), James Birks, Justin Wretham, James Cook, Sam Slack, Ben Lammin, Nick Mulvey.
Oakham's try scorers v Peterborough
Oakhams try scorers v Peterborough
Match Report away v Melton 9.10.05Melton U15 35 v Oakham U15 0
Oakham travelled to Melton with just 15 players, a contrast to Melton who have a sqaud of 25 from which to select. As is becoming the norm the opposition forwards were physically bigger than Oakham's pack, however it was Oakham who held the upper hand for the first 20 minutes by more than holding their own in the scrum, winning the majority of ruck ball, and constantly holding the ball up in the maul. However, despite sound handling from the backs (not one ball going to ground!), Oakham could not make their limited opportunities count and the majority of the game was spent defending. This they did with sound resolve and good technique, with big tackles coming in from Nick Mulvey, Glen Moody, James Birks, Tom Toogood & Justin Wretham in particular. Elliot Woodcock had a real battle in the front row against the Melton tighthead who's scrummaging technique was dubious at best, but didn't take a backward step. Oakham's defence held up well for the majority of the game with a number of balls being held up and fly half Will Crouch putting in a number of long clearance kicks. Inevitably though, Oakham began to tire and with Melton introducing a number of replacements, some late tries were conceded.
This however was a performance full of character from the Oakham team from 1 - 15, all of whom gave their best from start to finish, and one of which to be proud against overwhelmimg odds.
Team: Elliot Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, Jonathon Robinson, Andrew Neil, Tom Toogood, James Cook, Tom Burton (capt.), James Birks, Will Crouch, Glen Moody, Ben Lammin, Nick Coogan, Nick Mulvey, Justin Wretham.
Match Report away v Belgrave (County Cup)Belgrave U15’s - 5 points v Oakham U15’s - 19 points.
Oakham moved through to the second round of the county cup when they defeated Belgrave on their own patch on Sunday. Oaks travelled to Belgrave in the relatively luxurious position of having a squad of 16 for the first time this season even without 2nd row Jonathon Robinson who was out with concussion (not that anyone had noticed any difference!). With Osa and Lewis Clarke making their first appearances of the season, and Cameron McNeill on the wing, the team had more of a cutting edge. The early exchanges were pretty even with both sides looking to run the ball at every opportunity. Oakhams forwards were starting to dominate and the backs were looking sharp, with Osa in particular causing the home defence problems with his incursions into the line and Cameron McNeill just being pushed into touch just short of the line following a powerful run. The line out was also operating well with hooker Oli Whight throwing accurately. In the absence of Jon Robinson, James “The Tower” Cook, put in a man of the match appearance, who together with Andrew Neil, formed the shortest second row partnership in the history of rugby. Oakham took an early lead when following good ball from the forwards, good handling along the backs saw Glen Moody go over in the corner. This stirred the home side who then started to exert more pressure, but determined defence by the Oaks repelled most attacks, but Oakham were having trouble in clearing their lines and could not get out of their half. The pressure eventually paid off for Belgrave when a lapse in concentration in the Oakham defence saw the home side score the equalizing try, leaving the half time score at 5 points all.
The second half started in controversy when the referee first ordering uncontested scrums on safety grounds, due to the loss of a Belgrave hooker at half time, and then red carded a Belgrave player for a flash of temper for which a yellow card may have been more appropriate. This blunted the Oaks attack somewhat as they had been enjoying the upper hand in the scrums, however fro the next 20 minutes Oakham started to press for another score which came following a period of sustained pressure. A rolling maul developed within the Belgrave 22, from which Osa appeared to burst through a couple of tackles to touch down on the line. Will Crouch converted. Oakham then mentally sat back and allowed Belgrave to come back at them. The pressure was mounting and Oakham started to concede penalty’s within their 22. However strong tackling, in particular from Glen Moody, Tom Toogood, Osa, Elliot Woodcock and Kawai Cheung and good defensive work from half backs James Birks and Will Crouch kept the attackers out. Will hitting some particularly good clearance kicks from behind his own line. From one such kick Oakham turned defence into attack with Kawai Cheung making inroads into the home defence with some particularly strong carries. A 5m Oakham scrum was awarded on the right of the pitch from which James Birks took on the defence and found Will Crouch on the perfect line who hit the ball at pace to go over near the posts. Will converted his own try. The game was almost over but Oakham nearly scored again when a powerful run from Tom Burton saw him brought down 1m short of the line, in the developing ruck the referee spotted an infringement and the chance was lost. Oakham deserved this hard fought victory, played in good spirit by both sides, which was closer than the score might suggest.
Team: Elliot Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, James Cook, Andrew Neil, Tom Toogod, Lewis Clarke, Tom Burton (Captain), James Birks, Will Crouch, Glen Moody, Ben Lammin, Cameron McNeil, Nick Mulvey, Osa, Nick Coogan.
Match Report home v LoughboroughOakham U15’s - 17 points v Loughborough U15’s – 14 points
Following last weeks victory in the cup, Oakham were keen to extend their unbeaten run. Due to half term holidays, Oakham on paper had only15 players available, but one short in the front row. Things got worse before kick off when Justin Wretham reported injured and hooker Ollie Whight turned up suffering from flu. Oli decided he would give it a go and a prop was borrowed from the opposition. Oakham started the better of the teams by applying early pressure and took an early lead when Will Crouch made a good break from first phase ball, burst through the visitors defence to put Glen moody in. Will Crouch hit a great conversion from about 10m in from the toucline. Soon afterwards Oakham extended their lead when Will Crouch scored a great individual try. From a scrum deep in the Oakham half, he again broke through the defence and raced all the way to the line, side stepping the fullback. This spurred the visitors into action who came back into the game strongly and scored a try after a period of pressure. Oakham almost scored again when Tom Burton on a jinxing run was brought down just short of the line. Good support saw the ruck cleared quickly and the ball moved out to a three man overlap on the left only for the referee to bring the play back for an Oakham scrum when advantage played would have seen Oakham extend their lead. The second half saw a fairly even game early on with both sides finding it difficult to break down the defence, although Loughborough perhaps had the upper hand as Oakham started to tire. With about 5 minutes to go Loughborough scored the try they had been threatening for some time when they crossed under the posts to lead by two points. However, Oakham’s heads didn’t drop and immediately put Loughborough back under pressure. Osa fielded a Loughborough clearance kick at fullback and immediately set up a counter attack. Running across to the right hand side of the pitch near the visitors 22 he worked a scissors move with Tom Burton, Tom continued the attack by running across the left hand side along the 22 and then straightened his run. The visiting defence managed to put Tom into touch 1m short of the try line, from where Loughborough took the lineout, instead of going to 5m. This was an oversight both on the part of the referee and the visiting team. Oakham’s captain Tom Burton, about to point this out to the referee, sensibly thought better of it and kept his council! Loughborough won their lineout but by knocking the ball back, put pressure on their fullback, who attempting to clear from behind his own line managed to put the ball straight into the arms of Kawai Cheung the Oakham prop. Kawai, in unfamiliar territory, momentarily appeared like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights, not quite sure of what to do, but with the rest of his team mates shouting 'put it down' he duly obliged! Oakham held out near their own our line for 2 minutes with some good defence, and good cover tackling from Glen and Osa kept them out. Apparently there were a few punches thrown and some stamping that went unseen. The referee sin binned one of the visiting players for stamping. Osa came off with a black eye and a lump. However Oakham kept their discipline well, refused to be intimidated and concentrated on the game to emerge worthy winners.
Team: Tom ? (Loughborough player), Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, James Cook, Jonathon Robinson, Tom Toogod, Lewis Clarke, Tom Burton (Captain), James Birks, Will Crouch, Glen Moody, Ben Lammin, Cameron McNeil, Nick Coogan. Osa.
Match report v KestevenKesteven 17 points v Oakham 10 points.
On remembrance Sunday following an impeccably observed 2 minutes silence by both teams, Oakham kicked off on what proved to be a game of two halves. Oakham suffered an early set back when centre Ben Lammin had to withdraw due to injury during the warm up. On a bright crisp morning, Oakham had first use of the slight downhill slope and the following breeze. In an open game Oakham had to absorb some early pressure, but the tackling was resolute and the Kesteven attacks were repelled. Neither side could secure enough possession to dominate the game with good tackles going in from both sides. Midway through the half however Oakham took the lead with a well-worked try. From just inside the Kesteven half, Tom Burton burst through the home defence, evading a couple of tackles along the way. With just the fullback to beat, Tom drew his man before offloading to the supporting Glen Moody who in turn passed out to Cameron McNeil on the wing who went over for the try in the corner.
This gave Oakham the confidence they needed to dominate. The forwards started to exert pressure on to the Kesteven defence, which gave the backs the platform they needed to launch a number of attacks, and it was from one of these attacks, Oakham increased their lead. Fly half Will Crouch made a great break straight through the defence and was clear through to the line with full back Osa Etafa-Oboh in close support, but he was put off balance by a last ditch tap tackle and as he went over the line fumbled the ball. The home side were awarded a 5m scrum, which hooker Oli Whight did well to take against the head. Oakham No 8 Tom Burton picked the ball from the base of the scrum and was driven over the line for the try.
The Oakham forwards continued to dominate but Oakham could not add to their score.
The second half saw the Kesteven forwards step up the intensity and start to dominate the game with the breeze and slope now in their favour. Oakham tackled for all they were worth frustrating the home side on more than one occasion by holding them up on the line, with Tom Toogood putting in a man of the match performance. However for all their efforts Oakham could not get out of their half for a prolonged period. Eventually the pressure told and with Kesteven introducing a number of replacements, the fresh legs proved the difference with them running in three unanswered tries, the third and winning score coming a few minutes from the final whistle.
This was a good performance by Oakham and although the match was lost the team competed well for the full duration of the game.
Man of the match: Tom Toogood.
Team: Elliott Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, Andrew Neil, Jonathon Robinson, Tom Toogod, Lewis Clarke, Tom Burton (Captain), Justin Wretham, Will Crouch, Glen Moody, Cameron McNeil, Nick Mulvey, Nick Coogan, Osa Etafa-Oboh.
Try scored v Kesteven
Match Report v Lutterworth (County Cup)Oakham 7 points v Lutterworth 31 points
This was going to be a huge test for Oakham, as Lutterworth with their big squad and compliment of county representatives had put over 40 points on Melton in the previous round, who in turn had put a similar score on Oakham earlier in the season. Early morning frost had delayed the kick off, but both teams were keen to get the match played. As expected Lutterworth took the game to Oakham right from the start running the ball at every opportunity, their powerful pack of forwards moving the Oakham pack about the field, probing for weaknesses. What they probably didn’t expect was the tenacity of the Oakham defence. Time and again Oakham put in the tackles, and were quick to the breakdown, frustrating the Lutterworth attack. On the occasions they did break through they couldn’t find their way past the Oakham fullback Osa Etafa-Oboh who put in at least 4 try saving tackles during the first half, two of which clearly shook the opposition with their ferocity. Halfway through the first half the scores remained level and Lutterworth were clearly getting frustrated with their inability to break down the Oakham defence. A couple of big clearance kicks from fly half Will Crouch from behind his own line sent Lutterworth back towards the half way line. Eventually though the constant pressure began to tell and the visitors had crossed the line twice by half time.
The Lutterworth coaches were clearly not happy with their teams’ first half performance as they started the second half at a gallop. This very nearly led to a try virtually from the kick off, but again Oakham’s scrambling defence kept the attack at bay. However Lutterworth persevered and added two more tries to their first half tally, and it looked as if the floodgates might open. However Oakham seemed to gain in confidence and started to push Lutterworth back in the scrum and exerted pressure at the breakdown causing the visitors to concede a number of penalties. Three consecutive penalties conceded by Lutterworth enabled Oakham to gain territory to within the visitors 22, from where Oakhan got onto the scoreboard. First team centre Craig Wilson recently joined the U15 coaching team and this had an immediate impact when a backs move straight from the training pitch paid dividends. From an attacking scrum the ball was moved out to Will Crouch at fly half. Inside centre Glen Moody ran a perfect line calling for the switch pass. A show and go by Will completely deceived the Lutterworth defence as he burst through the line untouched to score under the posts, which he converted himself. Lutterworth did have the final say however when their fly half chipped the Oakham defence for the ball to bounce perfectly for the winger to collect to score unchallenged.
This was a huge performance by Oakham against a team who, on paper, were far superior both in quality and numbers, however if Oakham start to believe in themselves, which will be helped by this performance they can go from strength to strength. The compliments given afterwards by the Lutterworth coaches confirmed that their team had been involved in a tough battle.
Man of the match: Osa Etafa-Oboh
Team: Elliott Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, Andrew Neil, Jonathon Robinson, Tom Toogod, Lewis Clarke, Tom Burton (Captain), James Birks, Will Crouch, Glen Moody, Cameron McNeil, Justin Wretham, James Cook, Osa Etafa-Oboh, Ben Lammin, Nick Mulvey, Nick Coogan.
More Cup ActionCrunching tackles kept the Oakham defence intact.
WAOOW !! (We Are On Our Way)The flights are booked, and it is full speed ahead for the Easter tour to Viadana in Italy, with a total of 47 tourists feverishly raising money.
Our thanks go to the following sponsors without who's generous support, the tour would not be possible:
Oakham Town Council
Colin Easson Motors, Cottesmore
Easy Start Batteries, Corby
Ethix Eyewear, Oakham
Steans Associates, Melton Mowbray
Hamilton Developments, Melton Mowbray
Mecc Alte (UK) Ltd.
Pukka Pies, Syston
Jordans Cereals, Biggleswade
Anyone wishing to offer sponsorship would be very welcome.
New Match ShirtsOakham U15's have recently been presented with a set of new match shirts. The shirts have kindly ben sponsored by Mick Hudson Building Services. Mick 'Duffy' Hudson is the club & first team captain.
Match Report - Home v MeltonOakham 57 - Melton 0
Having beaten Oakham in the first game of the season, Melton made the mistake of underestimating Oakham, by sending a second string side who found themselves on the end of a comprehensive beating. Oakham are building towards their Italy tour, and good attendance at training coupled with hard work is starting to pay dividends.
With Tom 'The Hunter' Toogood out injured, Sam Slack started on the flank. Oakham went on the attack straight from the kick off and soon took the lead when fly half Will Crouch touched down. Centre Cameron McNeil made the initial break through the gain line, prior to offloading to Osa who was running a good support line. With just the full back to beat, Will appeared on Osa's shoulder in a great support move to take a perfectly timed pass to cross the line. This was just the start Oakham needed to give them confidence, and they never looked back. Oakham increased their lead soon after when Tom Burton managed to steal a Melton line out ball and power his way over the line from 10 metres out. There then followed an unfortunate incident when Will Crouch received a nasty facial injury in an accidental clash with the knee of one of his team mates. which resulted in Will having to leave the fied of play for a trip to the hospital!
Scrum half Justin Wretham stepped in to the fly half role with James Birks taking over at scrum half. With the forwards gaining superiority up front with control in the rucks and mauls, the half back pairing launched a series of attacks which led to a hat trick of tries from full back Osa, two more for captain Tom Burton, and one for centre Cameron McNeil.
This was a fine all round display from the Oakham squad, which sent Melton home to think again.
Match Squad: Elliott Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, Sam Jones, Jonathon Robinson, Sam Slack, Lewis Clarke, Tom Burton (Captain), James Birks, Will Crouch, Glen Moody, Cameron McNeil, Justin Wretham, James Cook, Osa Etafa-Oboh, Ben Lammin, Nick Mulvey, Nick Coogan, Tom Pallett.
Melton actionStrong in the scrum
Melton ActionOn the attack
Melton ActionRace for the line
Italy Tour Poster
Match Report v Coalville 5.2.06Coalville U15’s 10 – Oakham U15’s 7
This was the first of a series of tough upcoming fixtures for Oakham. Boyed by the comprehensive win over Melton, Oakham travelled to Coalville expecting the usual hard game against a traditionally physical side. The Coalville team were clearly up for this game and expected to steamroller Oakham into submission. They were surprised however when Oakham took the game to them from the kick off, applying the early pressure. Oakham were rucking and recycling the ball well. With the loss of fly half Will Crouch through injury in the Melton game, Osa Etafa-Oboh stepped in at fly-half. Oakham’s forwards were now securing a steady flow of good ball, allowing Osa to constantly probe for weaknesses in the home defence. Inevitably, Osa broke through with a show and go from the 22 metre line, bursting through the middle to score under the posts. Osa converting his own try.
This score stirred Coalville who started to exert some pressure on the visitors and eventually the pressure told when Coalville crossed for an unconverted try. Oakham pressed again and looked like taking the lead when they created a huge overlap, only for play to be stopped for an injury to an Oakham player!
Captain Tom Burton was leading from the front, rallying his troops to make the breakthrough, rather than hold on to the slender two point lead. The second half was evenly balanced with both teams coming close to scoring, however it was the home side who eventually made the breakthrough, scoring another unconverted try from close range in the dying minutes.
This was one of Oakham’s best team displays of the season, losing narrowly to a bigger side.
Match squad: Elliott Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, Sam Jones, Jonathon Robinson, Tom Toogood, Sam Slack, Tom Burton (Captain), Andrew Neill, James Birks, Glen Moody, Cameron McNeil, James Cook, Osa Etafa-Oboh, Ben Lammin, Nick Coogan, Stuart McKain.
Match Report v Kibworth 19.2.06Oakham U15's 0 v Kibworth U15's 47
A half-term depleted Oakham side had no answer to Kibworth's superior size. Although oakham batteld manfully to the end, Kibworth's ball handling and support play brought them a well deserved victory, which was played by both teams in a good spirit. Andrew Neill who was thrust into the scrum half position at late notice, put in a well earned man-of -the-match performance.
Match squad: Elliott Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, Sam Jones, Jonathon Robinson, Tom Toogood, Sam Slack, Tom Burton (Captain), Andrew Neill, Justin Wretham, Glen Moody, Cameron McNeil, Ben Lammin, Nick Coogan, Stuart McKain, Tom Pallett.
Match Report v Syston 26.2.06Syston U15's 22 v Oakham U15's 10
Syston were out for revenge having lost to Oakham in last year's cup competition. Oakham however started the stronger of the two sides which clearly rattled the home side who then proceded to take a two try lead capitalising on some basic mistakes from the Oakham team. Oakham however were not going to take this lying down and started to fight backand scored a deserved try when Tom Burton was bought down just short of the line, second row Sam Jones followed up to score in the corner for his first try for the club. Oakham continued this good form and equalised the match when fellow second Jon Robinson scored his first try for the club by showing a turn of speed un-natural to a second row, to score a graet try in the corner. Oakham were now in the ascendency, but could not cross the line despite a number of close calls. The Oakham players were starting to tire as the home side brought on a number of fresh replacements, which led to two more late tries, eventually taking the game away from Oakham.
Match squad: Elliott Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, Sam Jones, Jonathon Robinson, Tom Toogood, Sam Slack, Tom Burton (Captain), Andrew Neill, James Cook, James Birks, Justin Wretham, Glen Moody, Cameron McNeil, Ben Lammin, Nick Mulvie, Nick Coogan, Tom Pallett, Osa Etafa-Oboh.
2nd Row Partner
Match Report v LoughboroughLoughborough U15’s 20 – Oakham U15’s 27
In what is becoming a traditionally close game, this was another one for the nail biters! In the last three matches between these to sides, two have gone to Oakham with the other to Loughborough with each of the matches being decided by less than one score.
On a clear crisp morning, this was a cracker of the match. Loughborough had the early pressure and took a 5 point lead through slack Oakham tackling. However the visitors were soon back into it when No.8 Tom Burton appeared on the wing to take the scoring pass from full back Osa Etafa-Oboh, following good handling down the line. Oakham then increased their lead a few minutes later when Tom Burton got his second try of the match when he took a quick 5 metre tap penalty and forced his way over the line. Oakham were now playing with confidence but on the stroke of half time conceded and equalising try.
In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Oakham played some sublime rugby scoring 3 unasnswered tries. The first was a brilliant individual effort from full back Osa Etafa-Oboh. Loughborough, in trying to clear their lines kicked long only for Osa to collect deep in his own 22, from where he launched a counter attack. Brushing aside a number of attempted tackles, he burst through the entire home defence to go under the posts, converting his own try. In attempting to stop Osa, one of the home players was yellow carded which proved crucial. Soon after Oakham increased their lead when Osa went on another attacking run from deep, but this time worked a clever scissors movement with Tom Burton on the home 22, who then showed good pace to outstrip the defence. A further try then followed, when following good continuity work by the forwards, a ruck developed 6m short of the home line, from where flanker Sam Slack picked the ball and drove over powerfully to add to his eventual man of the match award.
Mentally, Oakham had already won this game but there was still a quarter of the game remaining. Loughborough capitalised on this, and the home fly half started to control the game putting a series of clever kicks behind the Oakham wings. This tactic proved successful and only good cover defence by Tom Pallett and Osa, and a ranging clearance kick from behind his own line by prop Elliot Woodcock prevented scores. However this tactic did succeed on two occasions pulling the score back to within 7 points. However Oakham managed to hold out with replacement scrum half skilfully kicking the ball dead for the referee to blow the final whistle for a relieved and tiring Oakham side.
Match squad: Elliott Woodcock, Ollie Whight, Kawai Cheung, Sam Jones, Jonathon Robinson, Tom Toogood, Sam Slack, Tom Burton (Captain), Andrew Neill, Justin Wretham, Glen Moody, Cameron McNeil, James Cook, Osa Etafa-Oboh, Nick Coogan, Nick Mulvie, Tom Pallett.
Loughborough Try Scorers
Loughborough try scorers
Match Report v Market BosworthMatch Report v Market Bosworth 19.3.2006
Market Bosworth U15’s – 20 v Oakham U15’s - 5
With captain Tom Burton out injured, Elliot Woodcock led the team from the front against a physical Market Bosworth side. Oakham were showing the effects of an early start to this away game by standing too far off the opposition and not putting them under pressure. They paid dearly for this by leaking 4 first half tries.
In the second half, and playing up the slope Oakham suddenly started to believe in themselves and put in a huge performance with Elliot Woodcock in particular taking the game to the opposition. Will Crouch benefited from a mistake by the Bosworth scrum half when he pounced on the bouncing ball to cross for Oakham’s only try. Although Oakham had all the pressure in the second half and the home side having a player dismissed as they got increasingly frustrated with their inability to win any quality ball, they could not add to their score. They did though prevent Bosworth from getting anywhere near the line with a fantastic team effort.
Led from the front against Market Bosworth
Match Report v PeterboroughMatch Report v Peterborough 26.3.2006
Peterborough U15’s – 0 v Oakham U15’s – 15
In windy conditions, Oakham visited Peterborough in their last match before the Italy tour. Peterborough as usual were a big pack of forwards and pace in the backs. Oakham’s pack however made up for a lack of bulk with superior technique and fitness and this factor was crucial in the testing conditions. Playing with the wind in the first half, Oakham nearly took the lead when the Peterborough full back pulled off a superb last ditch tackle to bring down Tom Burton when he looked favourite to score. The full back was soon in action again when he stopped Oseghamor Etafo-Oboh just short of the line. Oakham were having all of the pressure but couldn’t break down the home defence and had to be on their toes to thwart a couple of fast attacks from the Peterborough backs. Oakham eventually took a deserved lead when from a 5 metre scrum No.8 Tom Burton picked up and drove over to give Oakham a 5 point interval lead.
In the second half Peterborough upped the pace, getting the ball out to the backs at every opportunity and Oakham had to scramble in defence on more than one occasion. Peterborough also found playing with the wind difficult and a number of handling errors halted promising attacks. The game was still in the balance, but Oakham eased the pressure with their second try when centre Glen Moody outflanked the defence and ran in under the posts when he received a flat pass from the back of maul. Oakham should have increased their lead when following good work from centre Cameron McNeil, full back Oseghamor Etafo-Oboh burst through the defence only to have the ball knocked from his grasp as he closed in on the line. Peterborough were starting to tire and Oakham’s superior fitness was showing as they added a third try which settled the game. Good handling from Oakham’s forwards saw open side flanker Tomm Toogood hit the line at speed to receive the pass to put him over the gain line. With one defender to beat, Tom put out the perfect pass to fly half WillCrouch who was in support and crossed the line un-challenged to give Oakham a deserved victory. The game ended with a flourish when players from both sides were involved in a scuffle following an off the ball incident. The referee handling the situation well by calming everyone down and blowing the final whistle.
Try scorer v PeterboroughOpened the scoring
Try scorer v Peterborough
Tour Report, Viadana Italy 3rd-7th April 2006Oakham RFC U15 & U16 Tour to Italy 3-7th April 2006
The party of 43 junior players and coaches returned from a 5 day tour to Northern Italy on Friday 7th April. The party consisted of 37 players from the U15 and U16 squads together with coaches and support staff. The tour party was based at Italian Super 10 club Viadana, who have been competing in this season’s European Challenge cup.
We landed in Italy on Monday, and following a meal at a local Trattoria travelled to Viadana’s home ground Stadio Zaffanella to watch an Italian league game between two of Italy’s best teams, our hosts Arix Viadana, and Beneton Treviso, a game which had a number of Italian internationals on view and was also being screened on Sky Sports Italia.
On Tuesday the serious work began with a real bonus when Scott Johnson, this seasons Wales National team coach, put both the U15 and U16 squads through their paces during the morning. Scott Johnson is currently coaching the first team squad at Viadana in between leaving his job as the Wales National team coach, and traveling back to his native Australia to take up a post with the Australian National squad. Tuesday afternoon saw our first match of the tour when we took on our counterparts from Viadana.
The Viadana U15’s were missing six of their better players who were away at a Mantova district training session, and so supplemented their team with their U17 squad players. To add to this, Oakham were disrupted in the backs with Glen Moody dropping out through injury and Justin Wretham slotting in at centre. This match was a physical encounter for which the Oakham lads were clearly ready, and Oakham tackled as though their lives depended on it. Oakham had the edge throughout but could not break down a strong Italian defence. The Oakham line came under intense pressure on a couple of occasions, but each time determined defence kept the attack at bay, on one occasion taking a ball against the head from a 5 metre scrum. With the score still even at 0-0, the defining moment came with 3 minutes remaining when following an Oakham scrum within the home 22, the ball was shipped to full back Osa Etafo-Oboh who burst through the centre to touch down under the posts, which he converted himself. Oakham had to defend hard for the remaining 2 minutes as Viadana strived to get the equalizing score. As Viadana pushed forward a clever kick through to the 22 was fielded by winger James Cook, who shaped to clear to touch, but gave his team mates and coaches palpitations when he decided to run it out of defence by sidestepping the onrushing Viadana player. However help was at hand in the form of Elliot Woodcock and Tom Toogood who drove the ball forward to win a decisive scrum. Oakham then ran down the clock successfully to record a deserved 7-0 win, this being one of the best team performances for commitment, skill, and intensity they have ever produced. The squad enjoyed a well deserved celebratory beer at the hostel that evening, where the varying talents for singing were painfully demonstrated!
Wednesday saw the squad enjoy a day off with a trip to a theme park, apart that is from one unfortunate player Glen Moody, who having sustained an injury in training on Tuesday morning was taken to hospital by Chris and our host Jean for a precautionary x-ray. The NHS in the UK appears like a beacon of efficiency compared with its Italian equivalent, and having waited for 4 hours and still not been seen by a doctor, the Viadana club arranged for Glen to have x-ray’s taken and medical treatment given at a private clinic at their own expense. In the evening the tour party met up for a meal following a visit to another match to see the Croatian national team take on local club side Colorno.
Thursday brought a second day of training and matches, but also the opportunity to question 3 of Viadana’s first team players, one English, one South African and one New Zealander, on the life of a professional rugby player in a question and answer session. The players and coaches were also given a presentation and Q&A session on diet, training and recovery by Englishman Trevor Commons, Viadana’s Director of Athletic Performance, which overran the scheduled time, such was the interest shown by the players. This was followed by a handling skills session by Pieter Muller the ex South African Spingbok centre who won 33 caps for his country, who is also coaching at Viadana.
In the evening the U15’s took on the now full strength U15 Viadana team including their district players. Oakham’s performance was not as disciplined and intense as it had been on Tuesday, probably due to the effect of tiredness and fatigue as the tour reached its end. However it was the Viadana team who faded following a highly competitive first half, in which Oakham captain Tom Burton showed remarkable pace by breaking through the defensive line just inside the opposition half to outsprint the home defenders to score the only try of the first half. The try was converted by fly half Will Crouch. The second half saw Oakham run in a further 4 unanswered tries through Tom Burton’s second, driving over from a 5 metre penalty, Cameron McNeil following good retention from the forwards and good movement and handling from the backs, Kawai Cheung another close range effort from a rolling maul and Osa Etafo-Oboh putting the icing on the cake from more slick handling in the backs. Fly half Will Crouch added a further 3 conversions to run out 33-0 winners.
Following the matches a meal was held in the Viadana club house where all the players from both the Oakham and Viadana teams mixed and had a drink together, with the English lads being taught some Italian language which may not be suitable for use in polite conversation! Memorabilia and gifts were exchanged between both clubs, prior to the obligatory tour court session being held.
This tour was 11 months in the planning and was undoubtedly a huge success and rich and varied unforgettable experience for all who traveled. Of course it would not have been possible but for the hard work of a lot of people both in Oakham and Viadana, especially Academy Director Andrew Jepson and wife Jean, our hosts, who did everything they could to make us feel welcome and make the trip perfect in every way. Also to those local companies together with Oakham Town Council who provided invaluable sponsorship, to whom the entire tour party is indebted.
U15 Tour Party:
Tom Burton (Capt.), James Birks, Kawai Cheung, Nick Coogan, James Cook, Will Crouch, Osa Etafo-Oboh, Lewis Harrison, Sam Jones, Ben Lammin, Cameron McNeil, Glen Moody, Nick Mulvey, Andrew Neil, Jonathon Robinson, Sam Slack, Tom Toogood, Oli Whight, Elliot Woodcock, Justin Wretham.
Scott Johnson in action in ItalyScott Johnson, this season's Wales national team coach was on hand to pass on a few tips to the lads.
Pieter MullerPieter Muller capped 33 times at centre for South Africa also passed on the benefit of his experience with a passing skills session. Seen here with the U15 captain.
Touring Squad PhotoThe U15 touring squad.
Tom Burton (Capt.), James Birks, Kawai Cheung, Nick Coogan, James Cook, Will Crouch, Osa Etafo-Oboh, Lewis Harrison, Sam Jones, Ben Lammin, Cameron McNeil, Glen Moody, Nick Mulvey, Andrew Neil, Jonathon Robinson, Sam Slack, Tom Toogood, Oli Whight, Elliot Woodcock, Justin Wretham.
Match Report v Melton 23.4.06Melton U15’s – 15 v Oakham U15’s - 15
Oakham U15’s showed on Sunday how far they had come this season with a well deserved draw away to a strong Melton side which contained a number of county players. Back in October, the first match of this season was also away against Melton when Oakham were on the receiving end of a 35-0 beating. Since that day the whole squad has put the work in on the training pitch, which has not only built up their skill levels but also their fitness, understanding of the game and most of all team spirit. The season has seen them develop into a tight knit group who play for each other and never give up, typified by their recent performances in Italy where they were unbeaten without conceding a point and has bought victories in their last four matches.
These two sides also met mid-season at the Showground where Melton made the mistake of underestimating Oakham and sent over a “reserve” side and found themselves going back down the A607 on the end of a 57-0 drubbing, so on Sunday Melton were under no illusions and fielded their strongest team. Melton were clearly intent on bullying Oakham up front rather than letting the ball out to their backs, and for the first 20 minutes Oakham found themselves under intense pressure which yielded two unconverted tries for the home side. Oakham were fortunate not to go further behind when Tom Burton managed to hold up the Melton hooker over the line to prevent another touchdown. Oakham slowly began to believe in themselves and started to win ball at the breakdown putting pressure on the Melton defence, and a great break from Oakham’s openside Tom Toogood almost led to a try, with the final pass just failing to go to hand.
Turning around 10-0 down Oakham had to withstand some early pressure before taking the play down into the Melton 22. Good running from Oakham’s centres Cameron McNeil and Glen Moody put full back Oseghamor Etafo-Oboh into space. Linking with No.8 Tom Burton, they exchanged passes before Osa popped the ball up to Tom to crash over the line despite the attention of three defenders. From out wide, fly half Will Crouch kicked a brilliant conversion to take the score to 10-7. Having got back into the game, Oakham let their concentration lapse momentarily, letting the Melton winger in at the corner following some good back play to stretch Melton’s lead to 15-7. Melton continued to exert pressure and but for some last ditch tackles from wings Tom Pallet and James Cook and full back Oseghamor Etafo-Oboh, Oakham could have gone further ahead. With time running out, Oakham had to get back into the game and were soon putting pressure on the home defence which resulted in a penalty being awarded to Oakham just outside the home 22. Choosing to go for the points, Will Crouch hit another great kick to reduce the deficit to 15-10. There was a great battle going on up front, and following a shaky start the Oakham front row of Elliot Woodcock, Oli Whight and Kawai Cheung were more than holding their own against the Melton pack. Melton were camped on the Oakham line and looked certain to score, but the Melton hooker chose to go for glory himself when he had a three man overlap outside, Oakham turned the ball over and kicked ahead to get into the Melton half. With seconds remaining, Oakham had a last throw of the dice when they were awarded a penalty 30 metres out from the Melton line. Tom Burton took a quick tap, threw an outrageous dummy to make ground, before putting Oseghamor Etafo-Oboh in the clear, who temporarily juggled with the ball before racing over the line from 20 metres to bring the scores level. With the last kick of the game, Oakham just failed to snatch the win when the conversion attempt drifted wide. This was a well deserved result for Oakham and just reward for the hard work the players and coaches have put in this season.
Match squad: Tom Burton (Capt.), James Birks, Kawai Cheung, Nick Coogan, James Cook, Will Crouch, Osa Etafo-Oboh, Lewis Harrison, Sam Jones, Ben Lammin, Cameron McNeil, Glen Moody, Nick Mulvey, Andrew Neil, Tom Pallett, Jonathon Robinson, Tom Toogood, Oli Whight, Elliot Woodcock, Justin Wretham.
Hit two outstanding kicks to keep Oakham in the game.
Junior Presentation EveningThe annual junior presentation evening was held recently at the Showground clubhouse. A total of 80 players and coaches, representing the clubs U13 – U16 squads enjoyed a sit down meal prior to the prize giving ceremony. Junior rugby co-ordinator Simon Harries thanked the referees, coaches, the ladies who run the kitchen for all of their help and support throughout the season without whom junior rugby would not be possible. Thanks were also given to club president George Morley who prepared the pitches for all home matches.
All teams enjoyed a successful season with the U13 squad enjoying a tour to Wales and the U15 & U16 squads travelling to Italy for a week long tour.
The following prizes were awarded:
Justin Wretham (Clubman of the Year), Cameron McNeil (Player's Player of the Year), Sam Jones (Best Newcomer), Tom Burton (Player of the Year), Sam Slack (Most Improved Player).