Old Laurentians 31 Old Leamingtonians 20: Leaders’ early salvo gives Leamington too much to do

Jamie Harrison suffers a dangerous tackle during Leamington's defeat at Old Laurentians. Picture: Mike Baker
Jamie Harrison suffers a dangerous tackle during Leamington's defeat at Old Laurentians. Picture: Mike Baker

Old Laurentians’ Fenley Field home has not been a happy hunting ground for Leamington in recent years and this latest encounter saw that run continue.

Despite a confident start, Leamington conceded a converted score in the third minute.

Ross Waterhouse then pulled off a superb tackle to stem another attack and, as OLs began to get into stride, Ryan Byrne pulled off a try-saving stop before Nathan Earland relieved the situation with a kick into touch.

On the quarter-hour mark, the unbeaten hosts hit Leamington with another converted try and then further piled on the pressure with an impressive break in the backline, which cut through the defence and yielded another converted score.

Old Laurentians were playing with plenty of flair and a big score looked odds-on.However, Spa had other ideas and, in their first major attack, pushed the hosts back with a driving maul. They continued the momentum with a run by Dan Kane that earned a penalty which Patrick Northover stroked over.

From the restart, Kane claimed possession and set his side up for another surge and Leamington further enhanced their growing confidence with a piece of individual brilliance.

With OLs on the attack, they chipped the ball into what appeared to be a dangerous area.

However, Jamie Harrison took the ball and broke through a couple of tackles before outstripping the floundering defenders and racing the length of the pitch for a magical try.

It was proving to be a good end to the half for Leamington and they were therefore jolted as OLs showed why they are at the top of the league with another incisive break that earned a try and a 26-8 half-time lead.

The hosts appeared to have put the game to bed shortly after the resumption when their pack won a scrum and worked the ball over for a try.

However, Leamington mounted a supreme recovery to set up an intense end to the contest.

Craig Smith set his forwards up for a rolling maul, which OLs failed to master. Northover took possession and nearly forced his way over and once again the ball was recycled in the pack, with Smith powering over for the try.

As the home side began to tire they sent out a sloppy pass to the wing, which Byrne latched on to with a smart interception and his speed took him over for a converted score.

With Leamington in the ascendency they mounted another push on the home line in search of the bonus-pointy try.

Peters, Greevy and the whole pack worked the ball first one way then another as they tried to crack open the creaky home defence. OLs conceded a number of penalties, which, on another day would have warranteda penalty try and a card and there was a perceived sigh of relief from the home support as the final whistle blew.