One week on from the wintery storms that cancelled fixtures Oaks made the short trip to Coal Pit Lane for a local derby with Stocksbridge buoyed by some recent performances. No longer should the trip be feared with the home team’s new changing pitch-side facilities removing the stone-wall-climbing-warm up on the decent from the previous church hall changing facilities.
Oaks 2s made an impressive start and started games with a high intensity which paid dividends soon after kick-off. Numerous breaks we made by the away side with support play to match, and it was only a matter of time before the home side conceded from one of the chances being made. And so it happened, quick hands from Al Worsley, Gio Petrucci and Jonny Wilson set Tim Mullinar away to cross for try. Following a successful conversion from Ross Draper, impressive in his debut at 10, Oaks were in no mood to ease off.
Pressure was built again by the Oaks forwards and when a loose clearance kick found its way into the hands of Oaks full back Aled Rhys. His ‘grubber’ kick that went over and behind the onrushing Stocksbridge defence was measured to perfection, and following a kick through by Matt Needham the ball landed perfectly in the in-goal area for the winger to drop on to. 12 – 5 to the Oaks.
A further unconverted try was added by No 10 Draper, who chipped over the defence and collected a well-judged pass back from centre Daniel Hickey, before Stocksbridge gained a foothold in the encounter. Strange rucking out from Melvin Codling which involved lots of hands and very little of his feet was deemed to be illegal. From the resulting lineout Stocksbridge’s forwards bashed through the brave defence for a try to reward the pressure they created.
Oaks hit back straight away from the kick off, and piled pressure on to the Stocksbridge attack to force the error. Following a turnover in midfield, quick hands released Jonny Wilson on the left, who drove over the tryline to secure the bonus point for the Oaks. 24 – 5 to the Oaks.
The final say of the half was from the Stocksbridge forwards. After a string of penalties against the away side, the strong defence finally succumbed to the pressure and they made their weight advantage count as they drove over to make the half time score 12 – 24.
The second half started much the same as the first, with the away side seeing plenty of ball and territory. Support play continued to be the theme for the Oaks and eventually Dan Hickey added a further try following some outrageous dummying from Tim Mullinar and then following hard work by the forwards, Draper spotted space out wide and centre Alex Bugg released debutant winger Richard Phillips who had the pace and footwork to finish in the corner. 36 – 12.
Stocksbridge’s team talk paid off and a short period of dominance in the Oaks half resulted in another try, but the Oaks were not in the mood to lie down quietly. There was even time for Aled Rhys to engage in a staring contest with the Stocksbridge winger, a battle he clearly lost as the full back ran around the winger and proceeded to put in a wayward pass to Phillips. Rhys subsequently removed himself from play complaining of witchcraft and trickery.
A number of breaks through a tiring defence put the away team on the Stocksbridge line. Gio Petrucci pick the ball up and drove for the line and eventually put the ball down to make it 41 – 17. Cries of double movement from the home fans were to no avail, but it was obvious that there were not two movements from the hooker (maybe one, maybe three but not two.)
With time running out Stocksbridge put one final rally in and after another series of penalties, Stocksbridge crashed over for the final score. A brief foray up the right wing for Melvin Codling off the following kickoff resulted in a guess that he was in touch to end the game. A thoroughly well-deserved away victory for the Oaks avenging the loss earlier in the season.
MoM: Ross Draper for a commanding performance at 10
DoD: It went to Melvin on the day but the real winner was Gio. Let’s not forget he tried to score a try over the 22!