Town stumble at OMT's
Stevenage will be wondering how in a game in which they had by far the majority of possession, they contrived to lose a match that they should have won.
Town proved unable to turn possession into points against an OMT’s side that defended extremely well and took their chances far more effectively than their opponents.
Stevenage played a far too narrow game and for all the fine defending by OMT’s, they were rarely stretched wide on either side of the field, making the job of defending that much easier. An inability to change the game plan, was the undoing of Stevenage.
Stevenage dominated the early exchanges and it was perhaps the writing on the wall that it took twenty minutes to record the first score, when the option to kick at goal was taken, having decided to run two previous penalties in kickable positions. Gareth Lewis slotted home the penalty.
Four minutes later, with Stevenage on the attack, the ball was lost and the very dangerous fly-half Naca Konkinlau ripped the Stevenage defence to shreds as he skipped through to score. The conversion was added.
Konkinlau was a thorn in Stevenage’s side all afternoon with his elusive running.
An indication of the dominance of Stevenage in the first half was that OMT’s conceded eleven penalties and the referee eventually lost patience in the 28th minute when he sent the OMT’s tight head prop to the bin for one too many infringements at the ruck. From the resultant penalty, Stevenage executed an excellent catch and drive and Darren Outram scored to put Town back in front at 7 – 10, after Lewis had added the conversion.
Despite the man advantage, Town were unable to hold on to the lead until half time as OMT’s slotted home a penalty after a tackle infringement and Town failed to retire the necessary ten metres.
Despite Stevenage controlling the half in terms of possession, both sides went into the interval with ten points on the board.
Stevenage also started the second half strongly and retook the lead in the 46th minute. A quick break by Andrew Malins put in Alex Banna to score.
OMT’s best period of the match came in a ten minute spell between the 50th and 60th minutes, during which they scored two converted tries and effectively won the match.
In the 51st minute, Konkinlau took a quick penalty inside his own twenty-two metre line and with Stevenage still retreating he put the replacement winger away, who kicked ahead and took a kind bounce of the ball to score.
This was followed up seven minutes later as OMT’s enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in the Stevenage half and eventually worked an overlap for the centre to score unopposed.
Stevenage found themselves trailing by nine points at 24 – 15 and their situation was made worse when Conor Mitchell was sent to the bin for questioning a decision by the referee.
Stevenage kept the pressure on in the final ten minutes in terms of possession but had few ideas on how to break down the OMT defence. Their only consolation came from the final play of the match when the pressure eventually led to a Penalty Try to at least salvage a losing bonus point from a pretty miserable afternoon.
Stevenage Town Team: Sean Penny, Ian Crompton, Vinny Kevans, Gareth Lewis, George Turvey, Michael Wilson, Andrew Malins, Reece Crucefix (Barry Cook 69 mins), Darren Outram, David Bamber, Conor Mitchell, Adam Amos, Alex Banna, Wes Moore, Phil Pearson (Ben Hodge 61 mins)
Subs not used: Aaron Taylor
Tries: Darren Outram
Conversions: Gareth Lewis
Penalties: Gareth Lewis