Unfortunately, due to a couple of late drop outs OAs were reduced to 14 players which was not ideal given hot weather conditions and against a Fullerians side unbeaten in the league.
The match kicked off and almost immediately Oscar was clattered by a hard but fair tackle. OAs could ill afford to lose a player so early in the game so it was too much relief that Oscar recovered to carry on. The Fullerians tackler received a yellow card for his efforts, much to the bemusement of the spectators.
A good kick by Ollie took play deep into the Fullerians 22 and from the lineout Karim was held up as he tried to crash over – 5 metre scrum to OAs. The pack held firm at the scrum allowing Ollie to dart down the blind side to touch down for the opening score.
This seemed to spur Fullerians into action and they started put OAs under pressure and it was no surprise when good handling by their backs enabled them to exploit their extra man to cross for a converted try.
Fullerians continued to press hard in an effort to extend their lead and were denied by excellent OAs defence the highlight being a great tackle by Oscar when a try seemed certain. Fullerians were not to be denied and from a 5 metre scrum bundled over for their second try. 12-5 to Fullerians.
As is customary the OAs pack were competing well and securing a good share of possession for the backs. Another good kick through by Ollie caught Fullerians unawares and resulted in a chase to touch down the ball and it was difficult to tell whether OAs or Fullerians got there first. The referee, who was some distance away, gave the benefit of the doubt to Fullerians and a 22 drop out resulted.
Fantastic counter rucking by the OAs pack resulted in turnover ball but unfortunately no one was at hand to pick up the ball and the Fullerians scrum half, alert to the situation, scooped up the ball and almost made it over the OAs line but was held up by desperate OAs defence. A solid Fullerians scrum and some lacklustre OAs tackling allowed to home side to touch down in the corner for a 17-5 half time lead.
I am not sure what was said in the half time team talk but it seemed to have the desired effect as OAs tore into Fullerians from the restart with Matt, Ben S and Brandon making good ground with strong running. A good break seemed to have put Jaiden clear for an OAs try only to be denied by an excellent Fullerians tap tackle. OAs retained possession and took play to just short of the Fullerians try line with both Oscar and Ben S coming agonisingly close to scoring. Unfortunately OAs coughed up possession allowing Fullerians to clear their lines. The respite was temporary as a powerful run by George C gave OAs a good attacking platform which enabled the ball to be moved quickly to Jaiden who shrugged off the Fullerians defence to score. 17-10 to Fullerians.
Despite the heat the OAs were maintaining their intensity allowing them to enjoy plenty of possession and territory. As they pressed for a further score a loose OAs pass was intercepted and with no OAs full back the Fullerians player was able to sprint 60 metres to score despite an excellent last gasp tackle from Jaiden.
Despite this setback OAs regrouped and continued to take the game to Fullerians. However, the heat, combined with playing with 14 men, took its toll and Fullerians were able to score a couple of further breakaway tries to make the final score 36-10 which did not do justice to the effort and commitment of OAs who played some excellent rugby and should be proud of their contribution to an enjoyable match.