Nigel Youl reports - Paviors v Oundle 17-6
This weekend Paviors 1st XV travelled away in a first versus third clash against Oundle RFC in Midlands East One. It was clear that the outcome of this game could ultimately affect the final league positions at the end of the season and both sides were at full strength and fully committed to the cause. A sizeable crowd gathered full of anticipation for the encounter and they were not to be disappointed !!!
It was Paviors who made the more energetic start and pinned Oundle back in their own twenty two for the opening minutes. As the rugby gods would have it however, on their very first foray into Pavs half Oundle were awarded a penalty and took a 3-0 lead. This failed to deter Pavs in any way who then attacked with renewed vigour. Following a penalty, kick to the corner and successful lineout the Pavs forwards, supported by a few lurking backs drove over with hooker Kieran Wells finally touching down and proud new dad George Billam adding the extras. With the game finely balanced at 7-3 in favour of the Nottinghamshire side, Oundle then enjoyed a lengthy period of possession and battled hard to redress the balance of the scoreline. Pavs aggressive defence of late has been formidable. On a number of occasions it seemed that Oundle must score only to be driven back by a determined red and green wall. Late in the half Pavs again assumed ascendancy. Following a number of phases, Doug Billam (brother of aforementioned proud new dad George) drifted through the cover defence to score and extend the lead to 12-3 at the break.
As the second half began Oundle poured on the pressure and were awarded a penalty to close the gap to 12-6. Pavs defence was really beginning to prove impenetrable. No matter how hard they battled Oundle just could not cross the Paviors line. Of course, this is as tiring mentally as it is physically for any side. As the gaps began to appear, Pavs worked their way into the Oundle half and following several phases and consummate patience scored in the corner with George Billam doing the honours. This brought the score to 17-6 in Pavs favour with fifteen minutes to play. Again Oundle came back and probed and pushed, but again they could not score such was the collective prowess of the defence. With minutes to go and pressure mounting, lock Steve “feed the beast” Allen turned the ball over on the hallway line and then set off on a gallop that Shergar would have been proud of. He was finally brought down inches short with following Josh Flanagan being bundled into touch just as he was trying to touch down. Finally, Oundle resolve began to crack. The referee signalled the end of the game with a shrill blast of his whistle much to the delighted relief of all those associated with Paviors R. F. C and the disappointment of the home side..
This was a game of high quality rugby that both sides can be justifiably proud of. Pavs success has its foundations in a very strong group ethic with everyone buying into the collective vision and supporting each other on and off the pitch. A quality that makes them a highly engaging group of young men as well as very talented rugby players. Next week Paviors travel to local rivals West Bridgford; another spicy game in the offing !!
Squad; Collier, Wells, Stirling, Allen, Hanson, Plant, Reeson, Collingham, Green, Billam G, Taylor, Eggleshaw P, Billam D, Barton, Molyneux. Rep; Flanagan, Mason, Graham.
Scorers; Wells 1 try, Billam D 1 try, Billam G 1 try, Billam G 1 conversion