OLD Leamingtonians produced a determined defensive display to complete a bonus-point 22-17 win against leaders Rugby St Andrews in Midlands Three West (South).
Tries from Adam Stannard, Mike Robertson, Tom Eales and Liam Wellings put OLs in charge but having been reduced to 14 men they then had to battle hard to secure their victory at The Crofts.
With the wind in their favour in the first half, Old Leamingtonians went ahead on six minutes when a sweeping move involving forwards and backs ended with left wing Stannard crossing out wide for an unconverted try.
The hosts extended the lead to 10-0 after 14 minutes. A number of strong forward drives, assisted at the finish by half of the backs, led to prop Mike Robertson touching down.
A number of penalties provided the visitors with opportunities to gain ground well into the OLs’ 22 and it resulted in a try beneath the posts that was converted to reduce the deficit to three points.
After the St Andrews number 8 was red-carded, OLs pushed the visitors into their own 22 and another drive led to OL captain Eales touching down. Bradley James’ conversion left OLs 17-7 ahead at half-time.
Playing with the wind, St Andrews came at OLs with renewed vigour but against the run of play the hosts’ right wing Wellings collected the ball on the half-way line and set off on a blistering run for OLs’ fourth try.
The last 30 minutes of play was dictated by St Andrews. OLs were not helped when fly-half James was red-carded for what appeared to everyone on the field except the referee to be a legitimate challenge for the ball and Rugby added two unconverted tries but OLs held on for the win.
On Saturday, they visit Stoke Old Boys, in a 2.15pm kick-off.