Chance goes begging as Luton lose their game in hand to Olney

Aidan Kenny in action - pic: Ian Nancollas Photography
Aidan Kenny in action - pic: Ian Nancollas Photography

Luton fail to make up ground on the top two in Midlands Two East South after losing 16-8 at Olney on Saturday.

The Newlands Road side were playing their game in hand after it had been postponed before Christmas, but the result means they remain five points behind second-placed Market Harborough and six off table-toppers Oadby Wyggestonians.

Olney dominated the early possession, and when the referee awarded them a penalty they took advantage.

The hosts’ fly half played a lovely cross-field kick finding his winger and Aidan Kenny couldn’t stop him from scoring.

The conversion was missed and Rik Hobbs pulled it back to 5-3 with a penalty from 22 metres out that clipped the inside of the post on its way over.

Olney’s scrum half then slotted home two similar penalties from around the 22 to make it 11-3.

However, Luton closed the gap to three points just before the break as from the ruck, Tom Mahendren found Bryon Odell, who played a short pass inside to Kenny.

This created a gap for the winger to exploit and score, although Hobbs missed the difficult long-range conversion from the touch-line.

After the break, Olney dominated the game for the majority of the second period with the visitors not even being able to get out of their own half.

Eventually, with about 10 minutes to go, the home side broke down the Luton defence after a number of strong attacking phases within close range, and their hooker dived over to make the final scoreline 16-8.

Speaking afterwards, player Ryan Staff said: “Any loss is tough to take, but this one especially as we would ideally have liked to close the gap.

“The conditions and surface played a huge part in the game, fair play to Olney they played the pitch and weather conditions better than we did.”

Luton missed out on their rest week due to the rearranged fixture and face seventh placed Long Buckby at home next weekend, who they beat 40-0 on the road earlier in the season.

Ahead of the game, Staff doesn’t think the finely-tuned squad will suffer from any tiredness, the blindside flanker adding: “No game is ever the same, however, we will be looking for a huge performance this coming weekend in order to get our season back on track.

“I don’t think fatigue is going to play a part moving into next week due to the excellent work that Hills Physical Developments team has been doing with us behind the scenes.”