Barkers’ breakaway try undoes Spa’s hard work
With fourth entertaining second, this Midlands Two West clash promised to be a tight affair and that is how it panned out, with a breakaway try from the Coventry outfit mid-way through the second half proving the difference.
Barkers pushed a penalty goal attempt wide before a break from Spa fly-half Leigh Cleary opened up the visitors’ defence. Centre Alex Carroll was in support and, as he broke into Barkers territory, his pass outside just failed to connect with the overlapping Adam Preece.
Barkers then put Spa under a period of pressure, which resulted in them landing a penalty goal to take the lead.
Leamington responded immediately, with scrum-half Patrick Northover racing down the blindside and linking with winger Nathan Earland, who cut inside at pace and bulldozed in for a fine try. Northover stepped up to claim maximum points.
Barkers hit back with a penalty, but it was Spa who were having the better of the play.
Cleary and Mark Warrilow combined to go close and then lock Simon Harry took clean lineout ball to set Carroll and Simon Magill up for another assault on the visitors’ line.
Leamington increased their lead early in the second half with some superb attacking play up the left flank. The robust Spa pack put immense pressure on the Barkers line and, as the ball was recycled, Steve Hersey punched a hole in the defence before slipping out a pass to Northover, who crashed over under the posts. Northover slotted over the conversion to put Spa into a 14-6 lead.
Spa continued to match Barkers with sound scrummaging, while Carroll was using possession to good use, setting his back line up for some testing runs.
However. all of this positive play was turned upside down in a matter of minutes as Barkers kicked a penalty goal and then hit Spa with a breakaway try under the posts.
Dogged defending from the hosts denied a now-rampant Butts, with relief finally coming as Cleary whipped out a pass to Carroll who, in turn, released Lewis Kelsey to carry the attack upfield. This time it was Barkers who had to dig in to keep Spa at bay.
Barkers finally pulled clear with an unconverted try and despite a late rally by Spa, the visitors held on to claim an important win.