Leamington 33 Old Yardleians 13: Spa guarantee Midlands Two survival in style

Scott Peters bursts through to put Leamington on the attack. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
Scott Peters bursts through to put Leamington on the attack. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt

Leamington finally saw off their relegation fears with a breathtaking performance of fast-flowing rugby at Moorefields.

The back line scored five very impressive tries but they will be the first to congratulate their forwards, who worked tirelessly in energy-sapping conditions to provide a constant supply of quality ball.

Knowing a win would secure their league status, Leamington started the game at a high tempo.

Patrick Northover took the ball from a ruck and set Matt Timlin off on a rampaging run which was followed by a spell of pressure which resulted in Mark Baldwin racing through to score.

Nathan Earland slotted over the conversion and Leamington had got the perfect start.

Leamington continued to press home their early advantage with a run by Scott Peters carried on by Shuttleworth at pace and, when Jamie Harrison took his pass, there was only going to be one outcome as the speedy winger powered in to score.

On a firm playing surface, ideal for running rugby, Ryan Byrne took the ball in his 22, eluded a couple of tackles and raced downfield. Harrison was in support from the opposite wing and took the ball forward, only to be held up just short of the line.

When the visitors did manage to break into the Leamington half, Adam Preece was on hand to stop their flow with a bone-crunching tackle. However, they did reduce the deficit later with a well-struck drop goal.

The Leamington response was quick and decisive. Northover gained possession from his forwards in the middle of the park and sent Baldwin off for a run. Earland took the centre’s pass and glided through the Yardleians defence to score, adding the extras to put Spa 19-3 up at the interval.

With play rooted in the visitors’ danger area, Yardleians won possession and set about moving the ball down the wing. Leamington’s Craig Smith gave chase and his tackle both stopped the run and gained his side the ball. The home attack quickly regrouped and Earland and Preece exchanged passes before unleashing Harrison to score the all-important fourth try.

Earland slotted over the conversion and Leamington’s dreams of retaining Midlands Two rugby for next season were becoming a reality.

The home side’s alert defending led to their next score.

Yardleians took lineout ball and sent it along the back line but the final pass looped invitingly for Byrne to intercept and no one was going to catch Leamington’s flyer as he raced the length of the pitch to score.

Earland had the easiest of conversions and, although the visitors managed two late scores, Leamington were already home and dry.