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19th Oct, 2021

Leamington denied by last-gasp penalty in thrilling finale

Colin Stoner 12th Oct, 2021

LEAMINGTON provided plenty of positives, despite failing to halt visitors Old Laurentians’ perfect start to the Midlands Two West (South) season.

Leamington fell to a third successive defeat, going down 27-25 to a last-gasp penalty on Saturday but it was top quality display from the hosts as they matched an OL side chalking up a third win a row.

The home side did not have the best of starts and were behind to a converted score after six minutes of play. However, they soon showed the power of their attack, when full back Connor Chamberlain broke clear, at pace. The ball was quickly moved up field, where winger, Louis Harvey, latched on to it and weaved his way through the OLs’ defence, before unleashing a pass to Rich McKowen, who forced his way over for a superbly engineered score. James Dunne was just off target with the conversion attempt.

Some solid defensive work from Gareth Shuttleworth soon followed, as he secured possession in his 22, allowing McKowen to send a long kick out and clear the danger. Although, the opposition were enjoying a good proportion of the ball at this stage and after a couple of near misses, they were awarded a penalty try, on 20 minutes.

The home side were also having to contend with some serious injury issues and had already used their three substitutes. However, these setbacks were soon put aside, as the fleet-footed McKowen took on the opposition single handed, to break through and score under the posts. Sam Nunn quickly secured the extras.

The scoreline then quickly changed, as the opposition caught Leamington cold with a slick break, to claim another converted score.

With half-time approaching, a strong Leamington attack, instigated by winger Ian Cameron resulted in a penalty for the home side, gratefully accepted by Nunn, to claim a valuable three points and leave them trailing 15-21 at half-time.

Leamington began the second period in positive mood, with Louis Harvey having a darting run up the far side flank that needed the intervention of three defenders to halt. Ed Gray, who was in commanding form all afternoon, was quickly on hand to secure possession. The attack led to Leamington finally winning a scrum and from this position they gained a penalty, coolly slotted over by Nunn.

This was a very entertaining game of rugby football with the bulky Old Laurentians pack being subdued by the ceaseless running of the Leamington forwards. The home side then, once again, showed their attacking flair with another piece of individualism from McKowen. Gaining the ball in midfield, he put in a delightful chip and chase, outpaced the OL’s defence and crashed in, under the posts. Nunn added the conversion to give his side a well-deserved lead for the first time.

The game was now becoming very tense, with Leamington having to defend deep, as the Old Laurentian attack increased the pressure. In a pulsating finale, the visitors snatched victory, with a penalty goal of their own, to take the match via a narrow, two-point margin.

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