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8th Dec, 2021

Old Leamingtonians take their chances to stay top of the league

A FINAL 31-10 scoreline at Tenbury failed to reflect how close Old Leamingtonians were pushed by the hosts before sealing a bonus-point victory.

First-half tries by Henry Reynolds, Cameron Coutts were followed by second-half scores from Joe Talamini, Ciaran O’Connor and Reece Jones as OLS secured a sixth win on Saturday to remain top of Midlands Three West (South).

The key for OLs was they finished off their moves the better against their Worcestershire hosts.

The game kicked off with OLs playing into a strong gusty wind that gave Tenbury a distinct advantage had they chosen to take it but both sides opted for a running game in the conditions and after five minutes of play it was the speedy OLs backs that capitalised on a mistake by the home side to run the ball wide before switching back inside for centre Reynolds to finish with a try. The conversion into the wind failed.

From the restart Tenbury came back into the game and after a number of forward drives they touched down, with the conversion nudging them 7-5 ahead on 15 minutes.

OLs continued to play the running game but a number of dropped or poor passes prevented OLs scoring, while a picky official who penalised the visitors’ play repeatedly allowed Tenbury to relieve the pressure.

The visitors finally got their reward on 20 minutes. No 8 Callum Goose won ball well inside the OLs 22 and ran 60 metres through the receding Tenbury defence before being stopped. But from good ball recycled, right winger Coutts scored wide out on the right. The conversion was missed.

Almost on the half-time whistle Tenbury converted a penalty on the halfway line to leave the score 10-10 at the break.

From the re-start OLs took the game to Ledbury but the game was still littered with handling mistakes and after 10 minutes the OLs forwards kept the ball in the pack and drove the home side back over the goal line for Talamini to touch down try number three. Reynolds kicked the conversion.

For the next 15 minutes Ledbury came back into the game, mainly on the back of some poor handling by OLs or too many one sided penalty decisions given and it was not until the last 10 minutes of the game that the visitors became dominant.

The OL forwards began to control the game with good possession and strong drives into the home 22 and from one strong shove that took them 15 metres, scrum-half O’Connor went over for try number four and the bonus point. The conversion followed.

They added a fifth try when OLs gained possession deep into their own half and a 70-metre wind-assisted kick from Reynolds found touch 10 metres from the Tenbury goal line. From winning the Ledbury line out, a rolling maul ended with back row Jones touching down for try number five, again converted.

This was yet again an OLs display of 15 man rugby against a side that played far better than the league position suggests. Despite the scoreline, Ledbury were never out of this game.

OLs are without a league game on Saturday and the next match will be on November 20 against Alcester at The Crofts, kick-off 2.15pm.

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