After a strong opening weekend OC’s were looking to get back on track at home to Gravesend this weekend after last weekends disappointing result against Crowborough. OC’s welcomed back Dan Wood (Skipper for the week) at 7, The Brothers O’Malley and legendary backrow / hooker Andy Gardner. In the backs a fresh centre partnering of Dan Hepdon and Angus Dalgleish played with Will Smith slotting into start at 10. He
With the wind at their backs OC’s kicked off in buoyant mood. Initial skirmishes saw G’s making little ground on the OC’s defence until a high tackle allowed them field position from which they quickly gained another penalty took the 3 points on offer for from the tea. This was to be a bit of a pattern for the first half, OC’s on the wrong end of some self-inflicted ruck time penalties and some harshly awarded scrum pens being the side generally going forward. As an attacking force OC’s perhaps understandably lacked a bit of sharpness given the number of changes but all too often unforced mistakes allowed an endeavour filled in not highly skilled Gravesend to prove a match for the home side. A penalty from Dan Hepdon after numerous infringements in their own 22 saw the scores levelled and Will Smith slotted over a drop goal which saw OC’s lead heading to the break. Once again penalties gave G’s their chance at the close of the half having defended with some ease for what seemed like an eternity the ref deemed Skipper Dan Wood off his feet a ruck time allowing the visitors to take an 8-6 lead at halftime and a man advantage for the first ten mins of second period.
The second half saw OC’s under pressure early on and they were reduced to 13 men after the ref deemed foul play following a series of scrums which Colfe’s held out on their line. With the two man advantage the inevitable happened and Gravesend stretched their lead to 13-6 with a try in the corner which again went unconverted. With binned players returning OC’s actually then started to play some rugby. A brilliant pick from Sugar Andy O saw him bump 3 defenders down the blind side before offering Joe Cobham the five pointer with a 20 yard scamper to line untouched. 11-13 and Colfes now fancied their chances, however ANOTHER cheap pen let Gravesend take a 16-11 lead into the last 10. Now last year we would have lost this one but OC’s showed some fight and got a share of the spoils in the end. After a 10 minute spell of persistent infringing in their own 22 G’s finally saw a yellow, and from the resultant (uncontested) scrum Angus dotted down in the corner on debut. Alas Potts couldn’t add the extras to gain the win but a draw late on is better than nothing.