Bartlem in Wales wing call up shock
After Fridays nights starter which saw England ‘C’ team beat a small principality just west of Shrewsbury the main course was set at Cut Throat Lane.
No razzmatazz or lasers for this game, the pre- game hype didn’t require any! Boro were looking to avenge the loss suffered at Olney earlier in the season whilst Olney were looking to get themselves back towards the top end of the table.
A few changes were made this week with young Paul Lambert moving back into the centre and older Kieran Fereday (or Checkers as he is known to JC) coming into the scrum half spot for his debut, a position which many see as neglected since Matt ‘the younger brother’ Armstrong retired from professional and international sport.Playing conditions this week were typical Boro, wet, cold and boggy under foot!
The first half saw some early possession by Boro but it was a break by Olney into the Boro half which eventually saw Boro punished for an indiscretion and Olney slotted the ball between the uprights to give them an early lead (Boro 0v3 Olney). Straight from the kick off Boro were awarded a penalty which slammed into the Olney 22, a strong lineout saw the ball make its way to Paul Lambert, the Olney defence parted and Paul shot through a gap and evaded tackler after tackler to score a try which was converted by Pete Vickers (Boro 7v3 Olney).
Hopefully, the match would calm down, but alas no, straight from the next kick off the ball was allowed to bounce and a mistake was made allowing Olney to answer straight back with a try of their own (Boro 7v8 Olney). It was soon Boro’s turn to attack but some strong Olney defence saw no reward for Boro and Olney promptly marched back down the field and again Boro infringed allowing Olney to extend their lead (Boro 7v11 Olney).
It wasn’t long before Boro answered back, this time Boro made their way into the Olney 22 and after some initial forays towards the Olney line the ball was spun right to Pete Vickers who put in an exquisite grubber kick to the corner which Steven Gall pounced on to give Boro back the lead (Boro 12v11 Olney). The next attack from Boro saw Darrell Raynard burst through a couple of tackles only to be thwarted by a high tackle which Pete Vickers duly converted to start to give Boro a little bit of breathing space (Boro 15v11 Olney).
Olney, to their credit, didn’t fold and came straight back at Boro and it only took some strong last ditch tackling from Boro to stop them scoring, and then came the second best moment of the match, a wide pass from Pete Vickers inside the Boro 22 was collected on the bounce by Steven Gall. The veteran centre took advantage of a gap in the Olney back line and took off, the covering defence caught up with him but Human Resources Andy Seaton was on his shoulder calling for the ball and then spent the next 50 yards worrying about dropping the ball but eventually Andy dotted it down allowing Pete Vickers an easy conversion (Boro 22v11 Olney).
Half Time Score
Wellingborough 22v11 Olney
Before you read on, I should let you know that there was no score in the second half so feel free to make yourself a cup of tea if you want, however, the moment of the match did occur in this half……
The second half saw a lot of ‘scrappy’ play with neither side really gaining any foothold in the early exchanges, both sides seemed guilty of giving away ‘cheap’ penalties and both sides as much as they tried couldn’t get any momentum so a lot of to-ing and fro-ing ensued.
Boro chasing the bonus point tried to impose their game plan but giving away too many penalties allowed Olney to relieve any pressure. As the pitch cut up any attempt to make any form of half break was soon gathered up by the covering defence.
Then the moment of the match occurred, an attack by Boro saw the ball make its way to livewire Mark Bartlem, and showing some great skills for a Welshman he sidestepped someone, that’s correct, sidestepped. He shifted his girth from one foot to the other and moved in a sideways motion past someone. Director of Rugby George Shipman, knowing full well that the Welsh selectors were looking to replace oil tanker Alex Cuthbert, quickly whipped Mark off the pitch and wrapped him in cotton wool as Warren Gatland had sent him a quick text checking Mark’s availability at the weekend.
Back to the match and Ethan Roberts came on as Andy Seaton went down with cramp. Ethan was making his debut and has recently joined the team from the All Blacks, no not the New Zealand ones but the Daventry ones! He was given the traditional Boro welcome onto the pitch as Joel Smith tested Ethan’s catching ability by throwing at his feet with the try line in sight, needless to say it was knocked on.
Towards the end of the half Olney camped themselves in the Boro 22 but a strong defence kept them out and although Joel Smith and Chris Shipman were both shown yellow cards the Boro defence was resilient enough to keep out Olney.
Wellingborough 22v11 Olney
Paul Lambert 1 try
Steven Gall 1 try
Andy Seaton 1 try
Pete Vickers 2 cons 1 pen
Last week the match report ended with me stating that team needed to bounce back and this week they did and with a stylish first half. Although the second half was scoreless it also showed the resilience that this team has when they put their mind to it.
A lot of playing rugby at this level is about trust, trusting your team mates on your shoulder when in defence or attack, trusting the systems put in place during those Tuesday and Thursday training sessions and most importantly trusting yourself to make the correct decision at the correct time. When it comes off it usually results in a win when it doesn’t……..
The players can give themselves a pat on the back as this was a good win against a good side but complacency must not be allowed to set in so it’s crucial that the next training sessions are well attended.
Finally, I was asked by one of our youngest spectators to include two words in my match report this week, those words were ‘elephant’ and ‘monkey’, so there you go!
Written by Matt Armstrong