OWBA vs Tiverton RFC Rugby 2010

Another year has passed seamlessly and another OWBA scalp has been claimed. This year was a year of firsts across the board. The first fixture I have had to organise from the seemingly distant Birmingham, an OWBA fixture played against new opposition that provided by Tiverton RFC, the first senior match our referee on the day had taken charge of, a fixture with numerous brothers playing side by side in and the first fixture with a handful of young recently qualified old boys playing in. So much so as for the Tiverton skipper to actually comment ‘Where are the old boys?!’ Firstly, I must say thank you to Tiverton for providing stiffer opposition than South Molton may or may not have brought to the park. Tiverton certainly came to play hard, battling and bludgeoning rugby. We had to match this with the infamous Old Boy’s champagne rugby.  It amazes me every year how a group of players across the demographic can come together and play such scintillating rugby, why couldn’t we do this when we played for the school? Organising this year’s fixture was a tough ask after such a big turnout last year. On arriving at the Stags Head only 3 people were present, I feared the worst as did the boys that were there, simple answer, get the beers in.  After an hour we had mustered together a squad fit for sevens: Harry Chapman Walker, Ben McDonald, James Bentley, Luke Sanderson, Ben Sanderson, Robbie Miekle, Joshua Singh, and the Holtam brothers James and Rob were all present. We were reliably informed that the bulk of our squad would be meeting us at school. On arriving at school we were indeed met by the bulk of our squad and a strong young team assembled in the new Jonathan Edward Sports Hall, only after a bit of persuasion aimed in the direction of Angus Calder to locate us in some plush surroundings rather than that of the old changing rooms! As you know from last year’s write up Tommy Wallace and Chris Allin were at the end of my pen to paper quips. This year that honour goes to one Sam Harper. As in the previous year Sam found himself on the score sheet with the opening try of the game converted by Matt Brayley making an appearance once again for the OWBA. However it was the entrance made by Sam that turned a few heads! Pulling up in his Mini Cooper, plimsolls on and WAG attached to arm one might have mistaken him for a sporting start and guest speaker on Speech Day to rival Sir Idris Pearce CBE TD DL FRICS. The game itself provided moments of glorious rugby. The second try was scored by Ben Sanderson who sidestepped and left standing half the Tiverton team. The try once again converted by Matt Brayley. Before 15 minutes of the game had passed the OWBA were already 21 – 0 up, the third try scored and converted by Robbie Miekle. It was at this point we knew we were in for a battle as Tiverton began to push the ball through the forwards. The sizeable pack we were up against started to exert some pressure which resulted in two well worked pushover tries deep in our half. A quick team talk resulted in us looking to play the ball through our back line. Louis Pring, James Bentley, Robert Hurst and Adam Crispin made up the combinations between scrum half and half back. The backs were controlled extremely well considering the four were interchanging with every gasp of breath. Last year the ‘fly boys’ dominated the game scoring the bulk of the tries, culminating in Tom Pearce being awarded man of the match. This year that honour was bestowed upon James Blackmore after bagging a hat trick of tries. You could mistake James for being one of a number of positions on the pitch as he commanded the pitch superbly. The 3 tries he scored came from well within inside our half, the final try a superb solo run from our 22”. Bisecting James’s hatrick was a well deserved try scored by Ben McDonald.  Tiverton were not to be out done and continued to pressure the OWBA through forward play and eventually pulled a try back again through continuous pressure of our try line. The final try came from the OWBA with Robbie Miekle scoring from the wing and again converting his own try. The final score put OWBA ahead by a convincing 8 tries to 3. The score reflected our running rugby but Tiverton never let us run away with the game as they continued to stifle and battle in the forwards throughout the 80 minutes. The day was complete by the usual BBQ and beers after the game, special thanks must go to Dave Walker and Nathan Singh for ensuring that the after match proceedings went smoothly. I would like to thank all the younger members of the OWBA for playing and can only hope that they continue to play for many future years to come! I hope to see you all next year and to all the older players, get back in touch and get playing again for the Old Boys, we still need to go an OWBA Rugby Tour! Maybe the OWBA Rugby will be gracing new pastures across the country come Autumn 2011! Josh Singh