PICTURES BY CHRIS READING
When your skipper and hooker can’t play, who do you call up to replace him? His Dad, of course! Gary Hammond, a long term OLs’ stalwart who occupied the no.2 shirt for many years, stepped up for this game, his son Dom now continuing the family tradition but not available this week, writes Bill Wallis.
When Ray Smith was also called up at prop the age of the front row shot up, these two alone racking up over 100 years between them.
Making a somewhat belated 1st XV debut as a front row replacement, 40-something Martin Nobes only increased the age profile of an elderly pack. At the other end of the scale, three of OLs’ brightest young stars were missing as Cameron Taylor, Toby Rigg and Jay Smith were called up to play for Warwickshire Under 20s (and it would have been four had Charlie Johnson not been injured!)
The veterans all played their part in a hard-fought 27-10 win over a combative and competitive Earlsdon side.
Earlsdon took the lead with an early penalty and more than 20 minutes had passed before OLs registered a score when scrum half Nick Potgieter took a quick tapped penalty just inside the Earlsdon half and scorched through for a fine individual try.
Jon Bean improved the try before adding two penalties to take OLs to a 13-3 half time lead. When Ben Scott added another and Bean converted with a fine kick from touch, OLs were 20-3 up. But fighting back with some spirit, Earlsdon’s converted try reduced the deficit to 20-10.
Having the final say was that man Potgieter, who snapped up a loose ball in Earlsdon’s 22 to go over for his 8th try of the season, Bean adding the goal points for a final score of 27-10.
OLs face an altogether tougher task when they travel to take on Midlands 2 West (South) leaders Nuneaton Old Edwardians on Saturday.