Old Leamingtonians’ fitness and running game allowed them to overcome a forward-reliant Old Coventrians despite the hosts outscoring their visitors by six tries to five.
The game kicked off with OLs having the advantage of the wind at their backs but the hosts’ forwards dominated the first few minutes and in the same manner as the previous week’s cup game, a catch and drive from a lineout enabled them to drive over the line for the first try. The conversion attempt failed.
There then followed a period of midfield play that allowed Old Leamingtonians to gain a foothold in the game and when OCs’ number 13 was sin-binned for a cynical block the resultant penalty was converted by full-back Henry Reynolds.
Further infringements by the home side saw Reynolds take advantage of the wind assistance to convert another penalty from distance.
With Old Leams continuing to press the home side, using the three-quarters to good effect, birthday-boy Joe Tallamini burst through down the blind side from a ruck 40 yards from the home line to outstrip the defence and score in the corner. The conversion was successful.
More indiscipline by the home side resulted in a prop leaving the field for foul play just as their sin-binned centre returned to the action.
A further long-range penalty was converted by Reynolds and from the restart, a flowing move by OLs’ backs allowed winger Liam Wellings to cross the line for the first of two tries, just a week after scoring a treble against OCs.
The conversion from wide out was successful to give the visitors a healthy 23-10 interval lead.
Despite Old Covents having the benefit of the following wind after the break it was Old Leamingtonians who scored first when Chris Huckvale burst through the defence to score wide out.
The home side then began a period of dominance and as a result of indiscipline by OLs, their forwards took full territorial advantage.
OLs were repeatedly forced back into their 22 and conceded four tries in the space of 15 minutes, three of which followed the home side’s catch and drive gameplan.
Two tries were converted to move Old Covents into a 34-28 lead.
An injury to centre Simon Hemming meant a switch of full-back for Old Leams with Ciaran O’Connor replacing Reynolds who moved into the centre and it was this reshuffle which led to a change in the balance of play.
First, another well-won ball by the Old Leamingtonians forwards resulted in a swift three-quarters interchange which resulted in Reynolds beating the retreating defence to cross in the corner for an unconverted try.
With the visitors trailing by just a point going into the final ten minutes they then produced the best try of the game.
Old Coventrians pressed the visitors’ defence with a long kick ahead and O’Connor collected the ball deep in his own 22. The full-back ran the ball from defence, carving a path through the opposition well into the opposing 22 before drawing the last defender and switching the ball inside for Wellings to cross for his second try of the afternoon.
Reynolds added his fifth successful kick to secure OLs five league points.
OLs are without a game this weekend, returning to action on September 23 with a trip to Woodrush (3pm).