A Tale of Two Halves
By James Knox
OA's come unstuck in the second half
by Tom Pickett
The OA’s travelled down to Hove with high hopes on the back of last weeks victory.
The OA’s flexed their muscle early on gaining possession back off the kick off by holding their number 8 up in the tackle. This was then followed by Hove giving away two penalties which meant the OA’s found themselves in the Hove 22 with attacking ball. The lineout axis of Thomas Pickett and Phil Dibble working with what can only be described as a symbiotic harmony, a far cry from the 'Bend it like Beckham' fiasco of the week before.
The early pressure mounted and after attempting to barge the door down with some strong forward carries if was a subtle miss pass from Ed Nethersole to Alasdair Henderson that finally unlocked the Hove defence and secured the OAS first try. Ethan Allen was unable to add the extras from out wide.
Unfortunately off the kick off it seemed the mirror image happened but this time in Hove’s favour. The Oa’s giving away two quick fire penalties and not getting organised in time to defend a quick tap allowed Hove to score in the corner. 5-5 within the first 10 minutes. The crowd thinking this might well turn out to be a cracker.
However the next twenty minutes saw both teams probe each other and play to their systems but some good defensive work on both sides meant that the scores remained unchanged. An honourable mention to our first stolen scrum against the head and Ethan Allen being forced off with a suspected swollen ankle because the grass was a bit long. However just as the first half was drawing to a cagey close a sublime bit of individual skill saw Andy Conway maze his way through the Hove backline and dot down under the sticks. 12-5 to the OA’s at the end of the half.
If only the match could have stopped there. The second half saw the Hove scrum start to make an impact winning two important penalties. A then slightly fortuitous kick through by the Hove winger allowed their number 8 to pounce on the kind bounce to level things up.
The misery was compounded mid way through the second half when after some good offloading Hove again scored in the corner. OA’s however then began to find their feet and after some big carries in the midfield OA's came agonisingly close to scoring but instead coughed it up about a meter out.
The final nail in the coffin came a minute towards the end where a suspect miss pass was gobbled up by the hove winger to slide over again and make it 29-12 to Hove.
Not the result the OA’s had hoped for and some soul searching in the much needed week off will hopefully bring fresh impetus into the next block of games.