RUGBY UNION: A RETURN to some of their best form of the season saw Old Leamingtonians come out on top of a closely fought battle against third-placed Ledbury that saw both sides playing open rugby in beautiful spring sunshine at Ross Road.
Ledbury looked dangerous in the opening stages of the match and they scored the first points of the match with a 40-yard penalty with 17 minutes gone.
This prompted OLs to respond with second row Joe Tallamini picking up the ball and charging through a number of defenders before being stopped just short of the goal line.
He was however able to slip the ball to scrum half Toby Lord who dived over for the first of OLs two tries on the day. The try was converted by Bradley James to give OLs the lead on the 20 minute mark.
Just four minutes after OLs had taken the lead it was the home side’s turn to take it back with a push over try out wide that went unconverted. And on the 32 minute mark Ledbury increased their lead with a second try, this time converted, to move them 15-7 in front.
Ledbury continued to apply pressure but OLs rode the onslaught and from an intercepted pass well inside the OLs half the ball was quickly moved to centre Liam Wellings who crashed through tackle after tackle to cross the line for a an excellent try that was converted by Bradley James.
The visitors held a narrow one point lead at half-time and had the down slope and wind advantage in their favour in the second period.
The second half was an evenly matched affair with both sides having periods of dominance but neither could breach the defences.
Time and time again Ledbury pressured the visitor’s goal line but the OL forwards held firm and on three occasions forced the Ledbury driving mauls back when they had crossed the goal line and failed to get the ball down.
As the match went on OLs regained control with the forwards disrupting the home side play forcing Ledbury into giving away penalties and Bradley James on excellent kicking form converted two to move the visitors into a five point lead going into the last ten minutes of the game.
Despite OLs conceding kickable penalties the home side opted to go for five-metre line outs, but were forced back every time by solid defence from 15-man OLs defensive play.
Into added on injury time with OLs under Ledbury pressure the OL forwards won possession and a decisive kick out of defence by James travelled deep into the Lebury half of the field to find touch. The home side took a quick lineout that went wrong in mid field and the ball was stolen by OLs and the forwards played out time with pick up and drives that almost resulted in a further try before the match official called time.
This weekend OLs host Manor Park at The Crofts.