OURFC’s Greyhounds played their first game of the season at home on Saturday against Old Alleynians. While the scoreboard indicated a 37-20 loss, there were a number of positives for the Hounds and it promises to be a good season for a team challenging for their tenth Varsity win in a row. The performance was particularly pleasing given the Hounds were missing a number of key players, either because of Blues duty or because of the heavy injury toll OURFC is currently experiencing, and were reduced to a squad of just 16 men. Inspirational skipper Dugald Macdonald (and his rugged, confrontational style of play) was particularly missed.
The Old Alleynians team boasted a number of former OURFC players and started strongly with a try to former Blue Tim Catling playing in the centre. The Hounds struck back strongly in the last part of the first-half and strung together some fluent play. JJ Dargan scored a great try down the left-wing and Fraser Heathcote played the role of strong, ball-running No. 8 well. Sam Perrin, the former-SAS open-side flanker, was also conspicuous and outside centre Henry Hughes was making yards apparently at will. The OA’s then re-took the lead with a try from their left wing out wide before a reply from prop Jon Direen for the Hounds, who burrowed over from close range. Scrum-half Guillaume Bourda also added a penalty to make the score 13-10 to the Hounds at half-time with the momentum clearly in favour of the home side.
The Hounds entered half-time brimming with confidence and hoped the fitness generated by a brutal pre-season would allow them to run away with the game in the second-half. Alas, a push-over try to the OA’s soon after the break from another former Blue, No 8 Peter Wright and some poor defence in the 10 channel and two yellow cards for infringing at the ruck against the Hounds allowed the OA’s to build an insurmountable lead. Not to be deterred, Will Boardman playing at full-back set up a great try for right wing Sam Wareham, with an exquisite left foot step. However, the scoreboard didn’t lie and the Hounds have work to do in their quest for that 10th straight victory!
The post-game function was well attended and the Old Alleynians gents clearly enjoyed their return to the OURFC Pavilion. Fraser Heathcote was awarded Man of the Match for the Hounds, with Joe Mason receiving an Honourable Mention for stepping in to the second row at short notice! While the author of this piece required a few ice-packs and a darkened room to recover from his limited exertions, I’m led to believe the post-post-match function was similarly well attended at Vinnie’s.
The Greyhounds now look forward to their second fixture, at home to Southampton Medics on Saturday 20th October, kick off 2.30pm at Iffley Road.
Team Hamish Macdonald, James Wisson, John Direen, Sam Hitchings, Jason Law, Duncan Bucknell, Sam Perrin, Fraser Heathcote, Hugo Batten, James Dargan, Dylan Jones, Sam Wareham
Subs Sung Park, Joe Mason
Scores T: John Direen (1), James Dargan (1), Sam Wareham (1)