Leamington Royals continued their tough run-in with a 36-12 win over Midlands Premier play-off rivals Telford Raiders.
Royals welcomed back centre and captain Steve Alford for the clash at Acre Close, but were missing key players Paul Salvin and Liam Wellings, while loose forward Ben Warman played his final game for the club before moving to Australia for 12 months to study.
Leamington opened the scoring after an attacking scrum, with a training ground move executed to perfection. Adam Clifford benefitted from an excellent offload from second-rower Andy Morrison and went over under the posts for a try converted by Tom Hyam.
This was closely followed by another try for Royals, hooker Simon Gardner throwing a perfect pass to skipper Alford who scythed through the cover defence to score another converted try.
Telford showed great resilience and their influential prop scored a converted try after hitting a superb line at pace and crashing over close to the posts.
Royals were getting the rub of the green from the official and, after another break from Alford, Clifford crashed over the line. In the act of scoring he appeared to knock on, but the referee saw differently and awarded the try which was converted by Hyam for an 18-6 interval lead.
Morrison continued his try-scoring form after the break, latching on to a pass from Hyam, who converted from close to the touchline.
Excellent scramble defence from wingers James Urquhart and Ian Maull prevented a Telford reply, but they were powerless to stop a Raiders forward taking quick ball and crashing over for a converted try.
Leamington returned to the attack and after wave after wave of attack, union convert Luke Dunne went over for a converted try in the corner.
This score finally broke the visitors’ resolve as they lost their structure and started to blame the referee for every decision that did not go their way.
On the final play of the game, hooker Gardner found some space and fed prop Ben Nuttall who hit the line at full speed and, despite the efforts of the Raiders full-back, crashed over to score.
Hyam completed his 100 per cent day with the boot by converting on the final whistle.