Leamington 6 Spartans 17: Spa town visit proves another success for struggling Spartans

Action from Leamington's home defeat at the hands of Midlands Two West (South) rivals Spartans. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
Action from Leamington's home defeat at the hands of Midlands Two West (South) rivals Spartans. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt

Spartans will have a high regard for the town of Leamington after once again claiming the honours from a local rugby club.

The last time they won in the league, some eight matches ago, was at Old Leamingtonians and this week they enjoyed a similar experience at Moorefields.

Playing with a strong wind behind them in the first half, an indifferent Leamington side failed to take advantage of the elements and ultimately paid the price for not capitalising on the chances that came their way in this initial period.

Although Craig Smith was in his usual top form in the lineout, the hosts did not have the same presence in the scrum and thus failed to provide the backline with any quality ball for long periods of the game.

The home side began in positive mode when Jim Robertson claimed a Spartans kick inside his 22 and set winger Ryan Byrne off on a run where he linked with Nathan Earland to put Leamington in a good position.

Matt Patching put in a strong tackle to gain possession and this was followed by a tantalising run from scrum-half Patrick Northover.

Byrne was able to put pressure on the visitors’ defence following a run from Danny Phillips on the nearside flank.

Then, when the visitors were penalised just inside their own half, Robertson slotted over an enormous kick to put his side ahead.

From the restart, Gus Gillespie gave Robertson another opportunity to get his side up the park with another colossal kick.

During this early period, Leamington were looking comfortable, but not making enough of the chances that were coming their way.

And, when the home side got on the wrong side of the referee, earning a yellow card, Spartans quickly capitalised on the man advantage to score in the far corner.

Leamington had to defend in depth and were grateful for the quickfire tackling of Northover and some clever tidying up from Byrne to keep their line intact.

Spartans, still facing a strong wind, were having the best of play now and their forwards pushed Spa back to their goal line and went over for a converted score to emphasise their superiority.

As the half drew to a close, Leamington did find their attacking flair once again and took the opportunity to bring it back to 12-6 with a Robertson penalty.

Robertson kicked Leamington into a strong position on the resumption and enabled Dan Kane and Gareth Shuttleworth the opportunity to nearly get a score, with the ball held up just short of the line.

This early chance was one of a limited number that fell the home side’s way as they had to contend with a strong wind.

Spartans increased their lead with a well-engineered try, stealing the ball deep in Leamington’s half and whipping it crossfield to score in the corner.

It proved to be the last of the afternoon’s scoring on a day when a flat Leamington team could not cope with a competent Spartans side who, on this showing, should soon ease away from the drop zone.