Rugby Union: Andrew stifles Orrell

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Wasps. . . . .28

Orrell . . . .16

TWO seasons ago on this ground, Orrell came within seconds of winning the championship. The club who other clubs, selfish considerations apart, would most like to see succeed, survive through prudent stewardship and matchless spirit, but for three-quarters of yesterday's game it was hard to find a single redeeming feature in their play.

A stirring response late in the second half to an apparently hopeless plight turned a monotonous procession of penalties, in which Rob Andrew converted seven out of nine, into a decent contest. But the damage had been done. A biting wind, which Orrell faced in the first half, numbed their fingers and clearly their minds, but could only partially excuse the quality of their play.

In a game of churning mauls, static rucks and countless penalties the result was decided in an eight-minute spell in the first half when Andrew punished Orrell's frequent and quite senseless indiscretions with three penalties. Steve Bates's try three minutes from half-time, which followed the only fluent passage in the half involving Andrew, Hopley and Davies, rendered Orrell's task nearly impossible.

Their try apart, Wasps had two attacking ploys into the wind. One was to advance through their well-organised pack to within range of the posts for Andrew to kick the goal. The other was to release Lawrence Dallaglio, their free- ranging No 8, with quick scrummage ball. After 10 minutes of the latter, Wasps quite properly came to the conclusion that the former was infinitely more productive.

If Orrell thought they could employ the same tactics in the second half they were sadly mistaken. Steve Taberner wildly miscued a penalty attempt in front of the goal. Perhaps Orrell considered themselves the victim of a refereeing mistake having been awarded the penalty after scoring what appeared to be a perfectly good try. But Ashley Rowden, who did not always have the sympathy of the players in his first senior game, had played advantage and correctly judged that the scoring pass was forward.

Just when it seemed that Orrell were as clueless in attack as they were in their appreciation of the laws, Simon Langford came on as a replacement for Alun Peacock. His first touch was to kick Orrell's second penalty, his second was to send the ball via Jim Naylor, who had come in from the right wing to Paul Haymer on the left for Orrell's try, and his third was to kick the conversion. With his fourth he converted another penalty and suddenly Orrell were back in business.

In between, Andrew had kicked his sixth penalty, but at least Orrell had reduced the 19point deficit at half-time to just nine. But the gap was too great. Andrew kicked his seventh penalty to give him 23 points and Wasps had maintained their unbeaten record in the league against Orrell.

Wasps: Try Bates; Conversion Andrew; Penalties Andrew 7. Orrell: Try Hamer; Conversion Lanford; Penalties Lanford 2; Peacock.

Wasps: H Davies; P Hopley, L Scrase, D Hopley, S Hunter; R Andrew, S Bates; G Holmes, K Dunn, J Probyn, R Kinsey, D Ryan (capt), N Dyte, L Dallaglio, C Wilkins.

Orrell: S Taberner (capt); J Naylor, P Johnson, M Farr, P Hamer; A Peacock (S Lanford, 57 min), D Morris; M Hynes, G French, D Southern, C Cooper, C Brierley, P Manley, D Cleary, S Hayter.

Referee: A Rowden (RFU).