An impressive performance from OLs could not prevent them going down to defeat against a much bigger and more experienced Rugby Lions XV who appeared to have the eye of the match official for the majority of the game.
The official yellow-carded four OLs players at different times during the second period and it was to the visitors’ credit that they prevented Lions securing a bonus-point try despite being continually at a disadvantage.
The opening 30 minutes saw Rugby dominating possession, with much of the game spent in the Old Leamingtonians half.
However, the hosts were unable to create clear-cut openings against the solid OLs defence and had to rely on three long-range penalty conversions to open up a nine-point lead.
Lions extended their lead when a poor clearance kick was returned with interest by their winger but they then had to wait until late in the half to underline their superiority, with a converted forward-driven try giving the home side a 21-point advantage at the interval.
The second half was spoilt by the referee’s use of the yellow card, with four OLs, along with one Rugby player departing to the sin-bin.
An early long-range penalty saw the home side extend their lead but for the bulk of the half OLs’ held firm and from time to time they were even able to ask questions of the opposition, falling just short of the line on a number of occasions.
Lions did manage a third converted try on the stroke of full-time, but that could not take the gloss off a first-class display from the visitors.
Meanwhile, Old Leamingtonians Ladies were narrowly beaten by Olney in a closely fought contest at The Crofts.
OLs conceded a converted try inside the opening few minutes and that is the way it stayed until the interval, with much of the game fought out in midfield.
The second period started in a similar vein to the first, with Olney dotting down in the early stages, this time unconverted.
Both sides struggled to make headway in the increasingly wet and muddy conditions but the game did end on a high for the hosts with a try in the dying seconds.
Skipper Jen Vermeulen caught Olney napping with a quick penalty, allowing vice-captain Sam Smyth to weave her way through the visitors’ defence to score.
Recent recruit Harriet Hillson picked up the back-of-the-match award, while Tiff Haggith was OLs’ leading forward.
n Old Leamingtonians Under-18s suffered a narrow 12-7 defeat at home to Barkers Butts on Saturday.
Barkers Butts opened the scoring with a converted try but OLs responded in fine style, Matt Sawyer offloading to Jordi Pocknell who dived over out wide.
Ollie Meeke added the two with a splendid conversion.
Butts nudged in front after the break with an unconverted try and OLs’ chances of victory were further diminished when back-row Tadgh Sheehan received a red card.
To their credit, OLs managed a determined response and were camped in Barkers’ 22 for the final ten minutes but they were unable to muster a second try.