Royals secure a play-off berth with Outlaws romp

James Urquhart scored twice in Royals' play-off-earning victory over Nottingham Outlaws. Picture: Tim Nunan
James Urquhart scored twice in Royals' play-off-earning victory over Nottingham Outlaws. Picture: Tim Nunan

Leamington Royals won 60-20 at Nottingham Outlaws to secure their place in the Midland Premier League play-offs.

Outlaws were strengthened by a handful of their first team, who play in the Conference South, and opened the scoring in the fifth minute when their winger touched down in the corner.

Royals responded well and after back-to-back sets half-back Tom Hyam put in a crossfield kick for winger James Urquhart to outjump his marker and score.

Nottingham regained the lead after a missed tackle on the flank allowed their winger to score his second try of the day, but it was quickly back to 10-10, with Andy Morrison hitting the line on the angle to score next to the posts.

Leamington switched hooker Adam Clifford with half-back Simon Gardner in an effort to speed up their play and the ploy gained immediate rewards with Outlaws repeatedly being called for offside.

First, winger Ricky Alford crossed after great work by fellow winger Urquhart.

Not to be outdone, Urquhart raced over for his second try after centre Paul Salvin put him in space.

Morrison finished the half with his second try of the game, following a Nottingham score, to give the visitors a 26-14 interval lead.

Leamington were immediately on the offensive after the restart, with a big hit from prop Liam Wellings forcing an error from the ball-carrier. Simon Gardner capitalised by sneaking over at the resulting turnover ruck.

Nottingham responded with a hat-trick try for their winger but Royals remained on the front foot, with the hosts conceding a succession of penalties for offside or not being square at the ruck. As a result, Gardner and Wellings both benefited from repeat sets by scoring converted tries close to the posts.

Further tries followed, with full-back Will Cox powering over from ten metres despite the attentions of two Outlaws players and captain Steve Alford sprinting over after a stunning intercept by winger Andy Morgan.

With the Outlaws visibly tiring, Salvin sidestepped his way to the line from half-way and Morrison completed his hat-trick with his 20th try of a prolific campaign.

Leamington travel to Old Coventrians to face Coventry Dragons in tomorrow’s play-off semi-final (2.30pm).