Impressive Rams were pushed all the way by a young Elthamians side at College Meadow before securing their third successive National One victory.
OEs, fielding seven players under the age of 21, battled gamely against the high-flying visitors, but a high penalty count against them was to prove their undoing.
After taking an early lead through a Hilton Gibbons penalty, Elthamians were put under the cosh for the majority of the opening 40 minutes as Rams monopolised territory and possession.
They opened their account with a penalty try on 12 minutes, resulting in a yellow card for OEs prop Cam Holenstein, before livewire scrum-half Ollie Cole collected his own kick through to add a second shortly afterwards.
Behind 12-3, and having barely troubled the Rams defence, Elthamians hit back on the stroke of half-time with a try very much against the run of play.
On a rare incursion into the Rams 22, they drove a line-out to the try-line, allowing captain Hamish Barton to crash over from close range, Gibbons’ conversion cutting the deficit to two points.
Rams started the second period confidently, winger Jak Rossiter racing over from a quickly-taken penalty and to compound OEs’ problems they were reduced to 14 men for a second time when Ciaran McGann was harshly yellow carded for knocking the ball down.
It sparked OEs’ best period of the game, the backs and forwards combining superbly in a multi-phase passage of play which resulted in prop Austin Hay forcing his way over following a series of forward drives.
Any hopes the home side had of pulling off an impressive comeback were quickly dashed as Rams came on strongly again in the final quarter.
First flanker Tom Vooght touched down from a driven lineout on 64 minutes to extend Rams lead to 26-15 before replacement Connor Hayhow forced his way over in the corner to seal the victory with Rams’ fifth try two minutes from time.
PICTURES BY IAN CARTER
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