Luton RFC slip to first defeat of the season
Luton RFC head coach Paul Alston said his team's '˜soft attitude' was to blame as the Midlands Two East South leaders suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 21-6 at Oakham.
After only 10 players turned up for the last training session before the game, the Newlands side were left frustrated they couldn’t maintain their winning streak.
Luton momentarily found themselves in the lead with a penalty kick within the first eight minutes which was scored by Rik Hobbs.
However, the hosts’ attacking play deep in Luton’s half, meant that the league leaders suffered heavily towards the end of the first 40 minutes which ended 15-3 with Oakham scoring two tries and adding one conversion.
Gun Banlusin suffered a major setback as he had to pull out at the end of the first half, due to a painful shoulder injury.
The away side scored their final three points of the game at the start of the second half as Aidan Kenny, who missed his first penalty kick, scored another immediately afterwards, taking over kicking duties from Hobbs.
Luton missed five penalty kicks but would still have lost the match if they had scored the potential 15 extra points, such was Oakham’s advantage.
The second half was incident filled after a passionate display from Oakham who kept pushing Luton back towards their own line.
Under pressure Luton gave away as many penalties as they did possession, as Oakham slotted the ball twice between the posts as the game looked to have completely got away from Luton.
Ryan Shepard received a yellow card for pushing a player while David Hamm was also shown yellow for not retiring back 10 metres while the home side were taking a penalty close to Luton’s line.
The visitors’ injury woes continued after David Hamm was involved in a heavy head-on tackle with another player, which saw him knocked out momentarily.
This resulted in him being taken off the field with four minutes of play left.
Team coach Alston didn’t hide his disappointment as he saw his side’s lead in the division cut to a solitary point by Peterborough.
He said: “Oakham played a good game and we didn’t take our chances.
“We coughed up the ball too many times which was quite disappointing.
“Unfortunately Rik Hobbs didn’t kick any of his kicks as we left 15 points out there which perhaps would have helped.”
Luton will attempt to return back to winning ways on Saturday as they play Old Laurentians who are currently mid-table.