OLD Leamingtonians make the trip to Coventry Welsh this weekend looking to further cement their position at the top of Midlands Three West (South).
Saturday’s fixture provides OLs with the chance to build on their six-point advantage over second-placed Pinley, who have played one less fixture at this stage of the season.
OLs head into the game on the back of Saturday’s 25-20 home win over Berkswell & Balsall – their seventh win from eight games.
The game kicked off with the visitors gaining some territorial advantage but sound defensive play prevented any scoring opportunities.
The constant shrill of the referee’s whistle made it a stop-start game and it took until the 15th minute before the first score was on the board.
A penalty was awarded in front of the posts to the visitors and they kicked it with ease to take a three-point lead.
Berkswell & Balsall were employing a forward-driven game while OLs adopted a 15-man approach, using the backs whenever possible, but it was good forward play by the home side which provided the next score on the board.
From excellent possession and a flowing three-quarters move, OLs drove the visitors deep into the 22 area where a series of rucks and mauls allowed hooker Reece Jones to force over the line for a well-worked try, which went unconverted and left the score 5-3.
Further pressure by OLs ensured Berkswell & Balsall were pushed back into their own half but, when good driving mauls looked as though they would provide scoring opportunities, the match official’s whistle continually halted proceedings.
One infringement by the visitors resulted in a penalty for OLs which Henry Reynolds converted to give the hosts an 8-3 lead at the break.
After the restart OLs took the game to the visitors – time and time again distributing possession – and from one such move the ball was worked along the line to Simon Hemming who raced through to score try number two. The failed conversion left OLs with a 13-3 advantage.
Ciaran O’Connor was next to score for OLs, with Oscar Heath’s conversion giving the hosts a 17-point advantage.
OLs continued to dominate and it was then the turn of Hugh Melhuish to cross the line to secure the try bonus point.
Berkswell & Balsall came back into the game for the last 15 minutes and managed to pull the score back to 25-20 but, despite some late pressure and ten minutes of added time, OLs held on to secure a vital victory.