Leamington’s rally comes too late to salvage any bonus points

Leamington make a break. at Spartans. Picture: Ken Pinfold

Leamington make a break. at Spartans. Picture: Ken Pinfold

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Injuries to centres Tom Daplyn and Danny Ruyssevelt inside the first quarter led to Leamington losing momentum as they again succumbed to defeat at Spartans.

The hosts fluffed their lines in the opening minutes, spurning a kick at goal close to the Leamington line. This lapse was soon to prove costly as they fumbled the ball in midfield following the scrum and, with the Leamington defence up on them sharply, Garrett Bell was able to sweep in, take possession and race in to score.

Tom Jewitt knocked over the conversion attempt to give his side a seven-point lead.

Spartans found themselves under more pressure when Jewitt chipped the ball ahead for Daplyn to run on to. The centre cut his way through the home defence and fed Patrick Northover who was held up just in front of the posts.

On the quarter-hour, with Leamington on the attack, they allowed Spartans to intercept the ball and move it swiftly up the wing for a score in the corner. The hosts then moved ahead when they once again forced their way through some indifferent Leamington defending, claiming a converted score.

Leamington were finding it difficult in the scrum, often being pushed off their own ball, and as the half drew to a close, the hosts created a couple of gold-plated openings, only to lose possession at crucial times.

Leamington had a problematic opening to the second period, conceding a penalty and a converted score within the first six minutes to trail 20-7.

They tried to respond and looked as though they had created something fruitful when Jewitt fed Bell with the sweetest of offloads, only for it to be adjudged forward.

Spartans increased their lead with another penalty and followed it up with a try and it looked as though a big score could be on the cards as they continued to boss the scrum.

However, they again failed to capitalise and this profligacy nearly came at a high price for the hosts, as Leamington finished the game firmly in charge.

Following a Jewitt penalty kick to touch, Leamington took possession from the lineout and set about a rolling maul. Barney Lewis reacted first when the try line came into sight to get the ball down. Jewitt’s conversion attempt was just off target.

The score galvanised the Leamington squad and Kenny Kwok, despite carrying a shoulder injury, forced his way up the nearside touchline before being ushered into touch.

This was quickly followed by another attack which earned the visitors a lineout. Craig Smith claimed possession and allowed his forwards the room to set up another unstoppable drive. As the line appeared, second-row, Tom Lane was in at the death to claim the score.

Jewitt nailed the conversion attempt and suddenly his side were just a try away from a possible two bonus points.

However, time was against them and despite more direct running from Bell and creative work from the pack, they were unable to break down the stubborn, albeit now very wobbly, home defence.