Okes promise much but lose against Drybrook

Friday 8th April 2022 3:00 pm
Oke Full Back Leon Horn scores in the corner
Okehampton Full Back Leon Horn scores in the corner (Dave Potter )

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After a smart start, Okes’ poor second quarter ultimately proved the costly difference in a tough game against Drybrook.

It’s getting harder to say anything new each week, as this match followed a similar pattern to so many of Okes’ recent defeats. A bright opening, unfortunate injuries, defensive lapses and lively attacking which brought forth enough tries for the Okes to have won this encounter.

After initial Dybrook possession, Okes started to glean possession as they played down the slope first up. The hosts struck first on eight minutes when prop Pat Nash hit a nice line to force his way over from close range. The conversion was missed, but the sponsors lunch gathering watching on showed their approval of the Okes attacking intent.

As the first quarter elapsed, though, things started to go awry for the home side. They lost flanker Jack Ogbourne and lock Brad Curtis to match-ending injuries. Then Drybrook’s lively backs broke through on 22 minutes, as Okes failed to slow the speed of ball at the breakdown allowing the visiting No. 9 to dictate play. The conversion was landed followed by a penalty to make it 10-5 to the visitors.

Okes’ injury tally worsened when centre Gareth Espin was next to leave the field unable to return. With no backs sub available, flaker Saul Holliday was forced into midfield as part of the reshuffle.

All subs were now on and none of the injured would be fit to return. The rest of the first half saw Okes struggle to contain the visitors, as they ran in two more tries and added another penalty kick to make it a daunting 24-5 advantage to the Forest of Dean side with the slope to come in their favour second half.

To their great credit the home side came out firing, but rueing conceding so many points with the slope in their favour. After 44 minutes Okes reduced the arrears when prop Tom White ploughed over in clubhouse corner. Dan Fogerty converted nicely from the touchline and home hopes were raised once more.

Okes scrum-half Richard Bolt was now beginning to pull all the strings, and it was his sweetly-timed miss-pass off his left that saw the hosts reduce the deficit even further on 47 mins. Right winger JJ Beasley having the clear run in, again in the same corner. This time the extras were not added, but at 24-17 it was just a one-score game.

However, Okes’ achilles heel was soon to make another unwelcome appearance, an easy canter through midfield setting up another try for Drybrook, leaving it all to do yet again for the hosts.

Gallantly Okes regrouped and began to create more openings entering the last quarter. On 66 minutes skipper Dan Fogerty was the beneficiary, as he scooted over out wide to make it a hat-trick of scores in the same corner. Now at 29-22 it was once more all to play for.

Okes continued to probe for the equalising score as the match entered the last 10 minutes. It’s just not going Okes way this term though, and as the young hosts attacked in the visitors 22, a risky offload was attempted and it went straight into the visiting winger’s hand and he gleefully had enough gas to finally put the match out of reach.

Okes were down but not out, though, and as the encounter neared its climax it was prop Pat Nash who crossed for his brace and Okes’ fifth of this very open encounter. There wasn’t enough time left for any more scoring, though, and yet again Okes had promised much, but key moments are proving costly.

Still with no relegation this term, Okes can try to learn that averaging 35 points a game against is going to make winning games of rugby very difficult. Their attack, however, is still proving potent and the experience gained is invaluable as the season reaches its conclusion.

This weekend brings a real toughie as the Okes travel to league champions elect Exeter University (3pm). Why not let the train take the strain and come along to support the lads.

‘Come on You Okes!’

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