Borough’s great run of form continued in the English Clubs Championship this afternoon (January 12) as they pipped Oundle in a local derby thriller at Fengate.
There was only two points in it but Borough were well worth their 15-13 victory - a result which extends their unbeaten run in Midlands Division One to 10 games (nine wins and a draw).
It was also sweet revenge for Phil Powell’s side after losing 16-13 at Oundle earlier in the season.
Defeat for Oundle, who were dealt a blow in the warm-up when losing playmaker Will Carrington to a hamstring injury, damaged their promotion hopes. They remain third in the table but are now 10 points adrift of league leaders Paviors. It’s one up in this division with the runners-up entering the promotion play-offs. Borough are fourth, three points further back.
Oundle turned up with a side bursting with experience - seven of them having played for Peterborough Lions in recent seasons, and man for man they were bigger than Borough.
Yet Borough’s young guns, lightweight in comparison, played with more heart. They all worked their socks off for one another and hogged possession for long spells and reigned supreme territory-wise.
In Stuart Day and Sam Crooks, the two old-heads in their pack, they had the game’s two best ball carriers, and in Zak McClure they had a real terrier. Then outside they had a livewire of a scrum-half in Ross Chamberlain and a superb centre pairing in George Offer and Ryan Morris.
It was Offer who created the first score on 12 minutes. He made a dazzling break after Borough won a scrum on the halfway line and player/coach Crooks was up in support to take the scoring pass.
Five minutes later Borough extended their advantage to 8-0 when Matt Newman slotted a penalty after great work by Day and Mooki Tshepo-Olebile.
After spending the first half-an-hour on the defensive, Oundle at last managed to mount a serious attack and following a break from deep by centre Toby Snelling and a bulldozing charge by Saad Sait, Simon Andrews crashed over for a try near the posts to open Oundle’s account. Craig Tandy’s conversion attempt was charged down.
Borough grabbed their second try just before the half-time whistle. This one was scored by full-back Michael Bean who latched on to a lovely blindside break and chip-through by Chamberlain. Newman added the extras to make it 15-5 at the turnaround.
Oundle showed a bit more urgency at the start of the second half with Sait and Robb Shingles using their strength and power to good effect with bursts up the middle.
It quickly earned them a penalty, kicked by Tandy, and then a try - a lovely solo effort by centre James Keane, who galloped in after a long looping run round the Borough defence from 50 yards out.
But that was as good as it got for the visitors. Borough regained control and camped in the Oundle half for the last quarter of the game and they looked the more likely to score.
Oundle threatened a couple of times to nick it in a frantic finale but Borough’s defence was sound.
Borough: M. Bean, L. Smedley, R. Morris, G. Offer, M. Tshepo-Olebile, M. Newman, R. Chamberlain, S. Day, J. Dingle, D. O’Connell, R. Linnell, S. Crooks, R. Mould, L. Swindells, Z. McClure. Subs: S. Cowell, D. Pearce, B. Van Uden.
Oundle: G. Smithson, G. Jacobs, J. Keane, T. Snelling, L. Davis, C. Tandy, H. Winch, S. Sait, J. Roberts, M. Keane, D. Page, S. Andrews, G. Snelling, C. Humphrey, R. Shingles. Subs: O. Frisby, L. Sharpley, L. Marston.