Oaks find their fire for bonus point win


Sheffield Oaks welcomed an enthusiastic Withernsea to Parson Cross on Saturday looking to build on their impressive win away to Thirsk.

The match started in heartening fashion with the Oaks scrum dominating the first twenty minutes to hand captain Kelvin Charles nine points off the tee. Despite a reply from the visitors, it was another scrum that engineered the first try of the match – number 8 Aled Vaughan sheepishly picking up the loose ball and flopping over from short range. The extras were added to make put the home side 16-3 up.

Withernsea were playing with an all action style and trying to make full use of any possession they had. Their back three looked particularly dangerous so it was no great surprise when their opening try came from a kick return.

Oaks still looked capable of attacking from anywhere though, with flanker Gio Petrucci in particular punching holes for the three quarter line to exploit. Eventually centre Ben Collar continued his fine recent form with a sharp finish to make the half time score 23-8 to the home side. A bonus point was in sight, but a few too many knock ons meant that the match could have put to bed by this point. Having seen leads slip away all too often, a good start to the second half was needed.

And a good start was certainly delivered, as imperious fly half Lawrence Canham soon crashed over the whitewash from short range after a period of sustained pressure. The bonus point try was added soon afterwards after some silky hands from fullback Damien Roberts allowed winger Alistair Stedman to squeeze into the corner on his home debut.

With the main objectives completed, the match became very scrappy and Withernsea had the better of the last twenty minutes – making numerous line breaks and attracting a high penalty count. A combination of brave tackling and good fortune meant that the visitors only added one other try, meaning that the final score was comfortable 33-13.

A lot to work on for the home side, especially in killing off matches, but a confidence boosting result against a game side nonetheless. With some settled combinations, and a new-found ability to apply scoreboard pressure from the tee, the future suddenly looks bright!