Spa claim an outstanding Eve of Christmas victory
Leamington put in an almost flawless showing as their pack once again proved instrumental in providing the platform for this bonus-point win.
Leamington set the scene for an all-out attacking display when Tom Jewitt sent a long pass to Toby Bruce to put the visitors on the defensive. This attacking momentum continued in the opening stages and their support play was starting to shine, with centre Jim Robertson and skipper Craig Smith particularly impressive.
In Evesham’s first venture into the Leamington half, Smith was immediately alert to the danger and put in a swift tackle to halt the attack. He was then instrumental in getting his side upfield, linking up with Danny Ruyssevelt on the flank.
Leamington were forcing the pace and when Gareth Shuttleworth picked the pockets of the visitors with a neat steal it put them on course for their first score. The back-row forward’s play resulted in a penalty for his side and another soon followed, this time caused by the running of Ruyssevelt. Leamington kicked to the corner and when Smith took clean ball at the lineout, his forwards tried to drive him towards the line. Evesham halted the inital push but were unable to cope with two further drives and Lewis Kelsey was on hand to crash over for the try.
Jewitt was quick to step up and add the extras.
In the closing moments of the half, Leamington increased their lead following more good work from their pack with John Brear forcing his way through.
Jewitt was off target with the conversion attempt to leave the hosts with a 12-0 interval lead.
The opening of the second period heralded Leamington’s only contribution to the season of goodwill as a momentary lapse in their defence let the visitors in for a try.
They were quick to put this setback behind them and were soon back in the visitors’ half.
A foray was initially dealt with by the Evesham defence, resulting in a drop-out. However, Smith fielded the ball deep in his own half and linked up with Northover who got in a quick pass to Brear. From some distance, the big lock brushed aside the Evesham defenders and crashed over to give his side some daylight again.
Leamington were now mounting attack after attack and another Evesham clearance kick was caught by full-back Rich McKowen who was quick to put pressure on the visitors’ defence with an incisive run.
This continued barrage was having a detrimental effect on the morale and temper of the Evesham squad and more trouble fell their way when they came under attack via a Leamington lineout deep in their 22.
The drive that followed Smith’s clean catch was too much for the Evesham defence to cope with in a fair manner and another transgression forced the referee to award a penalty try to secure the bonus point.