Blues help Oundle make history
Oundle defeated Kettering for the first time in their history, as a "perfect storm" saw them win 7-3.
Despite the Blues dominating much of the game, the home side came out on top as their sheer tenacity and resilience somehow kept Kettering out, particularly in the last ten minutes when the visitors pounded away at the home defence which refused to budge, even when reduced to 13 players!
Condition deteriorated as the sides came onto the pitch, and the Blues were given first go with the wind at their backs and torrential rain pouring down. This didn't really help the visitors, but they still managed to create some early chances and should probably have scored in the right corner, but a knock on saw the opportunity go begging.
Oundle showed they weren't going to give anything away, and the Blues continued to bash away up the middle, which was just where the home side were showing their strength. Oundle began to get into the game, but with conditions against them and the penalty count mounting, spent little time in the Blues 22. However, on one of their sorties, they threw everything at the Kettering defence, and were rewarded when they moved the ball left and went over in the corner for the opening score. A tremendous conversion gave Oundle a 7-0 lead.
Back came Kettering, but still they couldn't break through and eventually they chose to kick a penalty rather than go for the corner, and Joe Daniel was successful to close the gap to 7-3, as half-time approached.
The weather abated somewhat and the Blues began to dominate proceedings in the 2nd half. Indeed, Oundle only had one visit to the Blues 22 in the whole of the 2nd period and this was from a searching clearance kick out of defence.
Despite this, and 2 yellow cards for the hosts, poor decision making, handling errors and a totally committed and determined defencive effort from Oundle, Kettering couldn't break the home side down. Then, when kicking opportunites from penalties came their way, the Blues continued to back themselves and kick to the corner, all to no avail.
Then came the dramatic final 8 minutes when Kettering had the ball the whole time and simply could not get the match winning try, much to the understandable jubilation of the home players and crowd.
For Kettering this was a bitterly disappointing defeat, and one which they will need to re-group from before the visit of league leaders Paviors this coming weekend. For the hosts, it was a history making day and they should be congratulated on their performance and the progress they have made in recent years. It was their day, and pretty sure they will have made the most of it during the rest of the weekend.
RAJ Man of the Match: Steve Dysel