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8th Dec, 2021

Battling Leamington denied by late penalty decider

ONLY a penalty goal separated high-flying Barkers Butts from Leamington, who showed grit and determination all afternoon, especially in defence.

The hosts edged the Midlands Two South (West) contest 11-8, despite Leamington pulling level with an Ali Weedon try.

Barkers made a confident start to the game and their pressure finally paid off after 20 minutes with a try in the far corner. Two earlier attempts had been thwarted by some ferocious tackling from winger, Louis Harvey, one a certain try saver.

However, the workmanlike display from the visitors both restricted further incursions and when a penalty chance arose in the closing minutes of the half, Sam Nunn took full advantage to claim a valuable three points to leave Leamington trailing just 5-3 at half-time.

The hosts had the better of the climatic conditions in the second period and used it to full advantage, putting intense pressure on the Leamington defence. However, time after time they found it impossible to get over the scoreline, as the visitors watertight defence held firm.

Action from Leamington’s closely-fought encounter at Barkers Butts. Picture by Ken Pinfold.

Leamington then caught the home side cold with a superbly-orchestrated attack.

Scrum-half George Jacobs set the scene, coolly collecting a kick out from Barkers, albeit under pressure from the home side. Linking quickly with Rich McKowen, the full back then brought in Harvey whose mesmeric run split the home defence. The Leamington forwards took over, with prop, Aaron Hunt making further ground towards the home try line.

Initially, Barkers defence managed to hold out, but with a penalty already in their locker, Leamington moved the ball out to the near side wing and a quick exchange of passes between Jacobs and Nunn allowed enough space for No 8 Weedon to crash through for the all-important try.

This score brought the teams level, following an earlier penalty from Barkers.

As the match entered the final quarter, the home side once again hit hard at the Leamington defence. A Barkers drive, following a lineout, looked like it would bear fruit, until Ed Gray produced the steal of the day, to halt the home side and it was only a last minute penalty that settled the contest.

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