After the hysteria following the simply majestic first half performance against Haywards Heath, OC’s hosted banana skin opponents Thanet Wanderers at Horn Park on a typically rainy October afternoon. The recently rampant OC’s showed a couple of positional shifts, Captain JTQ moved to Andy Gardner’s old 7 shirt, while Connor Grey took Andy Gardner’s old 6 shirt on the blindside. The backline saw Will Smith return at 15 along with Angus Dalgleish replacing overrated and over selected centre Ed Livett.
Kicking into the wind OC’s soon had the visitors pinned back in their 22 but try as they might the crossing the whitewash early didn’t happen. Thanet normally so strong up front were being bullied in the set piece, though for yet another week the dominant OC’s front row got no reward for this as the referee chose to reset numerous scrums with the hosts literally flying forward at will. Similarly the lineout the home side displayed was too strong for the visitors who were forced to infringe consistently in their own 22 to maintain parity. Club hero AG nearly got the first score but was hauled back from the line but upwards of 5 desperate defenders, will score a try for the 1’s for the 15th consecutive season ? Close on this occasion but no cigar. The first half played to a distinct pattern, OCS knocking on the door but struggling to get the first breakthrough try until late on Big Sugar Andy O did what he normally does. From about 5 yards out it is hard to stop a bloke that size and once again he crossed over to the OC’s a 7-0 halftime lead. Notably Sean “Blitz” Parkinson made his return to 1st XV rugby coming on as an interchange for legendary club Vice President and fan favourite Andy Gardner.
The second half pretty much was the same form, Thanet who by this time had suffered numerous injuries had to move to uncontested scrums (and after a debate which lasted 15 mins between ref / assessor and OC’s management) subsequently down to 14 men due to league rules. The hosts used this to their advantage and put the game to bed with Chris O’Malley scoring a brace and Max Collett somehow going in at the corner untouched (pity his sister wasn’t there see it). Thanet to their credit didn’t fold and continued to stay competitive and were rewarded with a try late on for their efforts.
Hard conditions to get going in and against game and wily opposition this was a well won 5 points for OC’s and keeps them on a winning streak. This league is competitive and OC’s need to keep performing to stay in contention of what looks like will be a fiercely contested top end of the table. Special mentions to the front row for another strong performance, Angus Dalgleish for another accomplished performance but MOTM went to the 31 year old Veteran Fred who had carried hard and been typically annoying in other aspects of his play.