RUGBY UNION: OLD Leamingtonians secured their mid-table position with a hard-fought 21-24 win against Upton-on-Severn.
It took 25 minutes for the deadlock to be broken when Upton – kicking into strong wind and bright sun – took advantage of a series of poor defensive tackles to score a converted try.
OLs took the game back to Upton from kick off as Liam Wellings crossed over for a well taken try. Mark Foley converted to bring the scores level.
The visiting side’s game plan worked moments later when OLs took the lead after Ciaran O’Connor crossed while Mark Foley’s conversion put OLs 7-14 up.
Upton then created a number of forward drives towards OLs’ goal line, and when an OL defender infringed just short of the goal line the referee awarded a penalty try to bring the first half to an end with the scores level at 14 apiece.
The strong wind in the second half caused OLs some problems as a series of defensive errors gifted Upton their third converted try of the afternoon.
OLs then began to exert more pressure. The game flowed back towards the Upton 22 metre area and – after a series of pick and go moves – John Carlos crashed through to touch down.
The conversion was pushed wide, leaving OLs with a two point deficit and 20 minutes left to play.
OLs continued their game plan of quick ball along the three-quarters, and Upton were severely tested.
It was only solid defence that thwarted a number of good OL moves.
But the game plan eventually paid off when winger Liam Wellings again outstripped the retreating Upton defense to touch down.
The conversion attempt by Ciaran O’Connor was also pushed wide, but OLs had moved into a decisive three point lead.
The final minutes of play were concentrated inside OLs’ 22. But the visitors defence was equal to every move Upton tried.
While Upton could’ve levelled the scores with a kick at goal following a penalty, they opted to kick for touch – a move which didn’t work as OLs held onto their slender three-point lead to win.
Next week sees OLs entertain newly promoted Alcester RFC on the first Patrons Lunch day of the season.
Kick off is 2.15pm.