Leamington run out of steam to allow Berkswell to take derby spoils

Leamington's Gareth Shuttleworth is tackled by Berkswell's Tom Marlow. Picture: Morris Troughton
Leamington's Gareth Shuttleworth is tackled by Berkswell's Tom Marlow. Picture: Morris Troughton
  • Midlands Two West (South)
  • Leamington 10 Berkswell & Balsall 40

Leamington backed up their morale-boosting win over Bedworth with another solid display against Berkswell, only to be ultimately overwhelmed by a fitter, more settled squad.

The former was borne out by the way the hosts shipped 21 points in the second period without reply after an encouraging first 40 minutes.

Leamington made an ideal start as, within seconds of the kick-off, they mounted an attack down the nearside touch which winger Will Fievet took full advantage of, crashing over in the corner.

However, from the restart, the visitors were soon showing why they are pressing the top sides in the league with a quickfire attack.

Fortunately for Leamington, Ryan Byrne was on hand to put in a try-saving tackle.

The relief was short-lived, though, and the visitors continued to press, securing a try in the corner to restore parity.

The game began to settle after these two early scores and both sets of forwards were working hard to secure their fair share of possession.

But, with 20 minutes on the clock, the visitors made another incisive break up the nearside wing and, finding they had options out wide, used the ball wisely to run in under the posts for a converted score.

This slender lead was probably justified on the balance of possession with Bs having the edge in the important areas of the pitch.

Where Leamington will be pleased, though, is the way they snapped up a rare chance given to them by Berkswell’s defence.

The hosts had forced play downfield but lost the ball to the visitors’ backline.

However, as they tried to run the ball out, Berkswell fumbled their lines and Jim Robertson swooped on the stray pass, kicked ahead and won the chase to get the all-important touch.

The game was on a knife edge and the opposition showed their strength by responding with more solid attacking play.

The Berkswell & Balsall forwards began a rolling maul up the flank and pushed dangerously into Leamington’s 22.

Unable to stop the surge, Leamington were adjudged to have unfairly impeded a clear scoring opportunity and the match official awarded a penalty try, which was duly converted to give Bs a 19-10 interval lead.

Berkswell were quickly on the front foot from the restart and began a sequence of attacking play in the Leamington half which gave the hosts little respite.

They did, however, have to wait some 18 minutes before gaining reward.

Although once they had broken down the stubborn Leamington defence, three converted scores followed to put the game to bed.

The situation was not helped by a series of injuries which disrupted Leamington’s rhythm and despite impeccable performances from Tom Greevy and Simon Harry in the second row, the hosts were ultimately well beaten.

Leamington return to league duty on Saturday January 9 with a trip to Dunlop (2.15pm).