Leamington live to rue madcap 20 minutes

John Raby touches down to secure Leamington a bonus point. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
John Raby touches down to secure Leamington a bonus point. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt


Leamington continue to look over their shoulders in Midlands Two West (South) despite picking up a useful bonus point at home to Earlsdon last Saturday.

After a performance of wit and invention at Kidderminster the previous week had gone unrewarded, the Spa side were grateful at least for having something to show for their efforts.

However, they fell some way short of the standards they had set themselves in Worcestershire despite a bright opening which saw Greg Melville touch down after a forward drive.

Earsldon responded, but a wild pass was almost intercepted by Jack Secher, who narrowly knocked the ball forward with the visiting defence all at sea.

The Coventry visitors would not be denied, though, and further pressure led to a converted score and a 7-5 lead.

Leamington then suffered a madcap 20 minutes where loss of possession and poor defensive work cost them three tries.

In the first instance, Spa lost possession at a lineout and Earlsdon quickly recycled the ball along their backline and scored in the near corner.

Then unusually for Spa, a couple of missed tackles allowed the visitors to score under the posts and claim maximum points.

The final disappointment came as they were pressing the Earlsdon try line and lost the ball, allowing the visitors to break up field for another converted score and a 24-5 half-time lead.

A determined Spa immediately hit back at Earlsdon from the restart.

Tom Greevy set the scene with a slick break up field at pace.

As the cover defence closed in, he slipped the ball to the supporting Gareth Shuttleworth, who in turn set Dan Kane up for a sprint in. Patrick Northover was inches off target with the conversion attempt.

However, disappointingly for Spa, they allowed the opposition to hit back with another converted score following a surge from the Earlsdon pack. The visitors then increased their lead further with a penalty kick.

With the result beyond doubt, the only real prize available to Spa was a bonus point and, to their full credit, they set about the task wholeheartedly.

A break up the nearside flank by Mark Baldwin was quickly supported by Spa in numbers and Jack Secher, now reverting to the full-back role, claimed possession to race in to score. Northover added the extras.

Then, another clever incursion into the Earlsdon half allowed Danny Phillips to charge through and he was held up just short of the tryline.

Spa were now having the better of the play and skipper John Raby rounded off a fine run with a well-earned fourth try and an invaluable bonus point.

Northover’s touchline kick was just inches short of the near post.