Leamington Royals weather the storm to beat Leicester

Andy Morrison notched his second hat-trick in successive weeks for Leamington Royals. Picture: Tim Nunan
Andy Morrison notched his second hat-trick in successive weeks for Leamington Royals. Picture: Tim Nunan

Leamington Royals remain on course for the Midland Premier League play-offs after seeing off a dogged Leicester Storm side 38-28 in terrible conditions.

The heavens opened seconds before the match and did not relent until the final whistle, with Leamington making the most of the elements to race into a 16-point lead inside the first 20 minutes.

The Storm hooker dropped the kick-off to give Leamington a 20-metre scrum restart and it was fed straight to full-back Will Cox who ghosted over untouched for the opening try of the game.

Hooker Simon Gardner then touched down following another Storm handling error inside their own half, with Tom Hyam adding the conversion.

The Leicester side seemed intent on hitting the self-destruct button with an attempted offload under their own posts spilled to allow second-rower Andy Morrison to drop on the ball for his fourth try in two games.

A colourful discussion between the Storm coach and his players stamped out their offloading game and they resorted to one-man running, benefiting from a succession of penalties to march upfield.

Their change in tactics yielded 18 unanswered points to leave Royals trailing in a game they had been cruising in.

However, from the resultant kick-off, Royals scrum-half Adam Clifford seized on a mistake at the Storm ruck and went under the posts unopposed for a try that was converted by Hyam for a 22-18 interval lead.

The second half was a much more structured affair with both sides playing as good a rugby as the conditions would allow.

Leicester were playing down the hill and fancied their chances of wresting the game away from Royals but they reckoned without a dogged defensive effort, with Liam Wellings, Ben Warman and Morrison producing hit after thunderous hit.

After one of these tell-tale tackles from Morrison in the 50th minute, Gardner picked up the pieces to crash over for his second converted try.

Storm responded with a try almost straight away, capitalising on a handling error at a ruck.

However, Leamington did not panic and started to play controlled rugby in the right parts of the field.

Morrison rounded off a superb performance by scoring two quickfire tries to complete his hat-trick and second in as many weeks.

The first saw him barging his way through the Storm defence from 20 yards out, while the second was a break from his own half which saw the forward skin the full-back for pace to score in the corner.

Hyam slotted over one of the two conversions.

Leicester were finding no joy trying to force their way through the Royals defence so, with the final whistle looming, their scrum-half kicked early over the top and the Storm winger won the foot race to score with the last touch of the game.