Spartans’ speed off the mark too much for Leamington

The Leamington pack rumble towards the line with the ball safely in the hands of Lewis Kelsey. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
The Leamington pack rumble towards the line with the ball safely in the hands of Lewis Kelsey. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
  • Midlands Two West (South)
  • Leamington 5 Spartans 35

Leamington were punished by an in-form Spartans whose speed in attack was too much for the hosts, especially in the first half.

The visitors made an upbeat start, forcing Leamington’s Toby Bruce to put in a try-saving tackle in front of his posts in the opening minute.

After soaking up this early pressure, Leamington secured the ball from a scrum and sent out what looked like a decent clearance kick. However, it fell into the hands of Spartans’ left-winger who carved open the hosts for a converted try with barely four minutes on the clock.

Leamington reacted immediately, getting the ball into the visitors’ red zone and earning themselves a lineout. Skipper Craig Smith claimed possession and his well-drilled forwards set about a drive to the line, only to be held up by some last-ditch defending.

Leamington continued to press, with some sound scrummaging and lineout work. The latter once again nearly brought reward when Smith and his pack of forwards set off on another, seemingly unstoppable, drive, only to be halted with the try line begging.

When Leamington lost possession deep in Spartans’ 22, they once again experienced the pace of the visitors’ attack, with only a superb cover tackle from Garrett Bell stopping a certain score.

From the resulting lineout, Spartans continued to press and when they were awarded a penalty, they took the opportunity to add another three points.

Two tries and a penalty followed before Leamington were rewarded for their endeavours.

Spartans conceded a penalty as the half-time whistle approached which offered up a lineout for Leamington. Although the hosts had been prevented from scoring in earlier, similar circumstances, this time there was to be no let-off for the visitors. Smith secured the ball and the Leamington pack forced their way through Spartans defence, with Lewis Kelsey getting the all-important touchdown to take Leamington in at the break 23-5 down.

If Leamington’s start to the match had been a little off the pace, they certainly made up for it with a high tempo, high intensity start to the second period.

Within minutes of the restart, full-back Sam Nunn and winger Jamie Anderson linked up on the wing to create a positive opening. The Leamington pack then set about the home defence with some clever pick-up and drives, only to be stopped by some last-ditch defending.

Where Leamington will be disappointed is in their ability to get more scores from this much-improved display.

Chances were frequent but the final execution of the planned move or the crucial decision-making, so polished in the previous match at Earlsdon, was just off target.

With the game now entering its final stages, Spartans capitalised on this, adding two further tries and only being thwarted for a third by the intervention of Kelsey, who halted the attacker inches from the line.