Following a muddy affair down on the Kent Coast in the previous week, OCs looked to continue their flying form with another win against top of the league Gravesend. Excitement grew throughout the warmup for what we all knew would be a tough arm wrestle of a game.
The game started slow, with a Gravesend scrum on the halfway line. Following a somewhat lacklustre offensive set from the away side, and a solid OCs defensive line, Gravesend quickly got bored and gave the ball straight back to OCs. Using the big right boot of Jack Potter OCs marched their way up the field for a lineout just outside the opposition 22. Quick speed of ball and strong running lines meant that Potter could once again use his ‘magical’ boot and sent Brenda McMillan over the try line.
7 – 0
After a well fought kicking battle, one could easily think that OCs had the dominance, forcing Gravesend to play out of their 22. However, after clearance kick from Gravesend and a dodgy bounce of the ball, in a flash Gravesend had a penalty on the OCs 5m line.
Gravesend opted for the lineout, thinking they’ll just shove it up the jumper and fall over the OCs try line, job done. But OCs had other plans. Shot after shot after shot after shot, OCs proved that the mid-week efforts certainly were paying off. After 10 minutes of continually getting chopped down at the knees, Gravesend eventually got over the line, and the game was all square once again.
OCs immediately found themselves back in the Gravesend 22 applying the pressure, and after tying Gravesend into the middle of the park, slung the ball out wide to Connor McDonald, who was just about tackled into touch before he could get the ball down over the line, although in my opinion the decision definitely needed to go upstairs.
OCs picked up the pace to a level that Gravesend’s defence clearly couldn’t match, picking up a penalty in the middle of the pitch, with Potts kindly taking the 3 points to close out the half.
Into the second half. Ill-discipline from Gravesend led to an early penalty just outside of the 22 allowing OCs to stretch their lead to 6 points.
OCs received the ball from the next kick off and got it wide to the space in front of Alex “FastestWingerInTheLeague” Verissimo, who proved his nickname doesn’t come from how quickly he can see off a pint. Racing down the left-hand side his boot just clipped the touchline metres in front of the try line.
Gravesend were able to build pressure into the OCs half for the remainder of the game. However, despite their very best efforts they could not get passed the unbreakable OCs defensive line, despite OCs being down to 14 men for the rest of the game. Gravesend threw everything they had OCs, but we were having absolutely none of it sending them backwards every single time.
The final play came down to a scrum on the 5m line. A stable scrum, the ref wanted the ball out. Andy O’Malley had a go himself from the back of the scrum. The ball was presented back and somehow ended up over the OCs line. Horn Park fell silent, what does this mean?! The ref had a look at his watch, and decided he’d seen enough for one day. OCs erupt into cheers as superfan Will Smith stormed the pitch (I highly recommend going back and watching him after the last knock on by Gravesend, very funny stuff).
OCs take the game and the top of the table, where we will be looking to stay for the long run.
OCs 13 – 7 Gravesend
Author – Jed Wylie