Earlsdon 53 Leamington 3: Glover penalty staves off whitewash at Earlsdon

Leamington's Gareth Shuttleworth and Dale Glover link up against Earlsdon. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
Leamington's Gareth Shuttleworth and Dale Glover link up against Earlsdon. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
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Leamington’s bright start to the season came to a shuddering halt at nearby Earlsdon, as the hosts hit them with an eight-try barrage.

The home side’s excellent support play, together with the undoubted pace in their attack, was too much for Leamington who only had a Dale Glover penalty to offer in reply.

With seven minutes gone and the visitors already three points adrift, Leamington had their first chance to witness the effectiveness of the home side in attack. The initial break was halted by a crunching tackle by Craig Smith but the hosts quickly recycled the ball to the opposite flank and scored in the corner.

When Leamington were at last able to get into the Earlsdon 22, they won a scrum and put the home defence under pressure, resulting in a penalty, which Glover effortlessly slotted over.

From the restart, Mark Baldwin claimed possession and made the ball available to Glover, who put his side back on the attack with a huge punt upfield.

However, this passage of calm football was soon overshadowed as the hosts hit back with two quickfire converted scores.

In a rare Leamington attack, Glover once again got his side on the front foot with a well directed penalty to touch.

The visitors won the lineout and set about mauling the ball towards the Earlsdon line but were just held up and the hosts were able to clear the danger.

Shortly after, a big hit from Simon Harry loosened Earlsdon’s grip and allowed Mark Warrilow to have a strong run at their defence.

Unfortunately for Leamington, they were unable to convert this passage of play into points and just before the interval they fell victim to another Earlsdon try.

Trailing 27-3 at the break, Leamington’s fortunes failed to improve in the second period and despite the odd moment of flair, in particular from Mark Baldwin, they had to soak up immense pressure from the hosts.

Four more tries were conceded and it was only in the final embers of the game that the visitors came alive with a concerted effort from the pack which nearly brought a score for Matt Patching under the posts.

The referee, however, was undecided as to whether the ball had been grounded and opted to give the home side the benefit of the doubt.