Okes sparkle in season opener

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

With new player-coach Martin Harrison-Browne in the vanguard ably supported by Captain Tom “Maddog” Mc Gratton the Okes put together some good attacking moves but were thwarted by some excellent defence from a team that had finished runner-up in the league last term.

Several kicks were fielded by the respective backs on each side until the ever-present Richie Friend coughed-up a penalty after six minutes.

The Okes survived this and with the next move the back-line quickly moved the ball through the hands to centre Gareth Espin, who created a beautiful outside break to send speedy winger Brandon Grace in for the opening score which was not converted.

After 21 minutes Clevedon narrowed the deficit with a penalty kicked right in front of the posts. The game was becoming increasingly open with missed tackles on both sides and after 30 minutes the Clevedon No 10, Cole dummied his way through several attempted tackles to go over near the posts, converting his own try taking the score out to 10 – 5 to Clevedon.

Back came the Okes with a number of fine handling moves, one of which was capitalised on by No 8 Martin Harrison- Browne, with a finger-tip try right under the posts which was converted by Richie Friend who was having a fine game at 10.

The half-time whistle sounded with the score just in the Okes favour at 12-10 with a game that looked as if it could go either way.

Not long into the second-half, Richie Friend went over under the posts and then converted his own try. With the score now at 22-10 to the Okes, the travelling support could easily have been tempted to think “game-over”.  This thought was quickly dispelled when Clevedon scored a try following an intercept in mid-field by impressive centre C.Maslen. The conversion brought the score to 22-17 with “game-on”.

However, this Oke team are made of stern stuff and with practically the next move skipper Tom McGatton showed the entire Clevedon team a clean pair of heels to score a converted try again right under the posts.  With the Clevedon team now looking ragged and dispirited Brandon Horne put on the after-burners down the left side to go over for his second and the Okes 5th try.