OLD Laurentians scored four tries but still managed to slump to a disappointing 39-22 defeat away at Bugbrooke in the Midland One East division, reports Bill Wallis.
Although the visitors did score four tries to earn a bonus point, they were playing catch up throughout and failed to reproduce the form they have been displaying in recent matches.
Twice in the opening ten minutes Bugbrooke sliced through some fragile defending for two tries and a 12-0 lead before Troy Owen got one back for OLs after a penetrating run from full back by Grant Inch and Jon Bean converted to reduce the deficit to 12-7.
OLs were under pressure in the tight from first to last and the pack certainly missed the strength and know-how of the absent Darren Dean.
Also missing from their lineup was flanker James Orbinson whose marauding style is so important to the side and Bugbrooke’s fly half was able to pull the strings in open play.
The home side added three more tries to pull away to a commanding 29-7 lead before Kieran McCardle’s strength took him over for a try but the visitors were losing 29-12 at the break.
OLs responded with a more effective performance in the second half and scored first when Richard Parker sniped over to pull back to 17-29 after 58 minutes.
Bugbrooke added a further try to stretch out to 17-34 before Jon Bean crossed after smart approach play by Owen and Inch, the conversion was missed.
But Bugbrooke responded again with another touchdown for the game’s final score and although OLs had matched the home side with two tries in the second half, the damage had been done before the break.
OLs recent run of games had given them hope of pulling off a last ditch escape from relegation but that fate was ensured before this game kicked off.
Derby visit Fenley Field for the season’s final league game this Saturday to complete a run in that has included matches against first and second in the league in the final three games