FEATURED IN:Club News
Following a successful January with three wins against tough opposition, Old Streetonians 1XV welcomed Old Merchant Taylors’ to Hackney Marshes looking to continue their streak.Despite their lowly league position, the visitors brought with them a number of dangerous attacking players with steps that would make Neil Spalding blush.
Conditions were again not conducive to an expansive game, but Old Street were determined this week would be more free-flowing than last week’s dour (but important) 6-0 victory at Finchley. We started strongly with a good exit play, turning the ball over immediately from a well-constructed kick chase.
Step forward the Street pack.
The eight man scrum (which overflowed with additional forwards bulking up the wings for most of the 80 minutes) was first unleashed, becoming a potent weapon for The Onions all afternoon.
Led ably once again by Connor Osborne and Luke Wilson, Greek God No. 8, Oli Smalley, powered over from short range following some blunt close-range attack; before the set piece (according to Lynn Hay) forced the first penalty try the Club have scored by heaving back their opposition.
Next came a combination of scrum force and quick thinking from half backs Neil Pittaway and Eoin ‘Ojo’ Fitzpatrick, swinging the ball to the blindside where Ojo set free rapid, prolific try-scoring winger, Ryan Trudgeon, who was on to replace injured debutant Cian O’Shea (groin). We were also temporarily without lock Gary Hoban (vagina), so Liam Trudgeon stepped in and did a sterling job out of position. We scored twice more to give ourselves a commanding 33-0 lead at the turn of the half; once through hooker Will Gilgrass from a rolling maul, and the other through the brawn of Ojo from close range.
Our visitors started more brightly in the second half and began to exert some pressure of their own. The Onions side initially held out on the line with some resolute defence, notably through skipper Harry Marson and freakish lock Leod Ballantine, but a penalty against allowed OMTs to seize the momentum and score their only points of the day.
Soon after, Old Street were back in the ascendancy as yet another excellent scrum gave the backs a platform to play from. A neat midfield exchange saw inside centre Neil Spalding put impressive debutant Connor Fitzgibbon clean through, the outside centre then returning the favour to send Spalding on a clear run to the line (well, it was his birthday).
Neil Pittaway darted over from close range following some excellent surges down the right flank from regular winger Pip Bhol and, after yet another flanker-on-the-wing-Jonny Horsford- controversially had a try disallowed, the resultant scrum saw Oli Smalley use his Stretch Armstrong reach to grab his brace.
A bit more controversy was to follow as full back Matt Owens capped a fine performance at the back by being ruthlessly body slammed to the ground, the perpetrator escaping anything more than a penalty, which riled some Onions (Trudgy). The final try of the game came through Ojo, again using his power to drive over after a half-gap presented itself. The stand-off converted to bring his total points haul to an impressive 26 for the day.
He still didn’t smile.
Old Street Rugby 1XV 61 – 5 Old Merchant Taylors’ 1XV