Boro back to winning ways
Wellingborough travelled to Oakham needing to get a win to get back on track.
After initially travelling to their old ground eventually the new ground was found, with great clubhouse facilities but what seemed like an under 12's sized pitch and posts.
Changes to the Match Day squad included Mark Bartlem back in the front row and Rob Owen on the flank. Jack Bryan came in at scrum half, Luke Gardiner making his first league appearance came onto the wing and Connor Aldrich moved to full back, the bench was much changed with Dan Fitzhugh, Dave Morgan and Craig Marshall keeping it warm.
Once a match ball was found and then actually pumped up Boro kicked off to Oakham, straight away Oakham set up the maul and made their way into the Boro 22, it wasn’t long until the early Oakham pressure took its toll and a penalty was awarded to them which was kicked (Oakham 3v0 Boro).
From the kick off Boro put Oakham under pressure and turned over the ball - a penalty was awarded to Boro but the shot at goal was missed. Oakham made their way back into the Boro 22 but a great scrum from Boro saw the ball make its way to inside centre Paul Lambert who broke through the Oakham defence putting Boro on the front foot, however a couple of phases later an errant forward pass saw momentum lost.
Oakham regained the initiative but strong Boro line defence limited Oakham to a shot at goal which was missed, straight away a quick 22 drop out taken by Steven Gall saw Boro shoot up the right hand side and progress into the Oakham half. This came to no avail as Oakham broke back into the Boro half and were awarded a penalty as the line defence came up to quickly.
Boro started to win more ball and by creating good clean ruck ball for Jack Bryan this meant that they could go through phases of play. Eventually this paid off as some quick ball after a ruck saw Pete Vickers release Luke Gardiner into space, he shot off towards the Oakham line and in the process stepped past three Oakham players to score a vital try which was converted by Pete Vickers (Oakham 3v7 Boro).
Oakham took a quick kick off which caught Boro unawares, a penalty soon followed for a high tackle as Boro tried to nullify the Oakham attack. The penalty was scored (Oakham 6v7 Boro). It wasn’t long before Boro were back on the attack with Chris Shipman making plenty of progress into the Oakham half. Again the ball was retained by some good clearing out at rucks and Steven Gall used his step and speed to break into the Oakham 22, the ball made its way to Connor Aldrich who offloaded the ball with a sleight of his hand, Luke Gardiner collected the ball to dive over in the corner for his second try (Oakham 6v12 Boro).
The remaining moments of the half saw some good defence from Boro, in particular both centres who pressurised the Oakham backline resulting in a scrum to Boro. Oakham managed to keep themselves in the Boro 22 but again some good defence prevented the Oakham score and saw an Oakham player yellow carded for an offence at the ruck as the half time whistle went.
Half Time: Oakham 6v12 Wellingborough
Straight from the kick off Boro made a break through Rob Owen but the move broke down. It wasn’t long before Boro won the ball back and after a couple of phases the ball was switched to the right and Luke Gardiner was provided with the ball to score his third try of the game which was converted by Pete Vickers (Oakham 6v19 Boro).
A penalty was awarded to Oakham straight from kick off as the referee deemed that Boro had sealed off the ball at the ruck. Oakham kicked it to the corner and although Boro defended the driving maul and subsequent phases that followed they ran out of numbers and Oakham made room out wide to score a try (Oakham 11v19 Boro). It wasn’t long before Boro responded with a try of their own, Oakham attacked Boro out wide from their own 22 but some strong defence from Luke Gardiner saw the Oakham winger lose the ball in the tackle Paul Lambert was on hand to collect the ball and race 40 yards to score a try in the corner (Oakham 11v24 Boro).
Oakham soon responded as they were given a kickable penalty which was converted (Oakham 14v24 Boro). The next moments of the half saw some scrappy play from both teams as possession switched between both them, a great turnover from Kyle Danns in the Boro 22 wasn’t rewarded as the referee pulled back Boro for a forward pass. Another great scrum from Boro put Oakham under pressure but over eagerness in defence saw Oakham giving a penalty which was converted (Oakham 17v24 Boro).
It wasn’t long before Oakham were given another kickable penalty as the referee deemed that Boro had offended at a ruck, this again was converted to draw Oakham closer (Oakham 20v24 Boro). Pressure from the kick off saw Boro make their way into the Oakham half and a turnover from an Oakham lineout saw the ball make its way to Luke Gardiner who showed the full back a clean pair of heels to score his fourth try of the game which was converted (Oakham 20v31 Boro).
Oakham realising that even the bonus point was slipping away started to smash their forwards up close around the ruck but the Boro defence repelled the Oakham attacks. However, a yellow card for Chris Shipman for not retreating saw Oakham kick the ball into the corner, the lineout was collected and Oakham scored with the final play of the half with 14 of their players driving a maul over (Oakham 25v31 Boro).
Full Time: Oakham 25 v 31 Wellingborough
Luke Gardiner 4 tries
Paul Lambert 1 try
Pete Vickers 3 cons
Wellingborough produced their best league performance of the season to win at Oakham, there were a lot of positives with some key elements worked on in training which shone through in the game. However, it stills feels that the top few gears haven’t yet been hit so there is still some work to be done to fine tune part of the game.