RUGBY UNION: OLD Leamingtonians kept promotion hopes running into the new year with a convincing 28-7 win over mid-table Woodrush.
OLs put thoughts of this season’s earlier loss to Woodrush at the back of their minds as a dominant second half proved key to the home side’s success.
The game was only five minutes old when early pressure from OLs saw the ball driven into the Woodrush half.
Strong ball handling by the backs saw winger Tom Eales receive an over-lapping pass to dive over for the opening try. The conversion attempt failed.
Woodrush took the lead within two minutes of the restart though when poor defensive play saw the visiting winger run almost unchallenged outside the whole OL back division to score beneath the posts.
A successful conversion made it 5-7.
OLs regained the lead on 20 minutes when Bradley James converted a penalty before skipper Reece Jones touched down to stretch OLs’ lead to 13-7.
The second half saw OLs dominate for long periods but Woodrush defended well and always presented a threat with break out rugby that gave OLs problems.
But the home side’s defence was a match for every attempt and the switches in play saw some adventurous moves from their three-quarters, well supported by the forwards.
One such passage of play saw Woodrush in trouble in defence – and good ball quickly released by the forwards to Bradley James saw the fly half collect the ball, spot a gap in the retreating defence to cross the line between the posts. The converted try stretched OLs’ lead to 20-7.
Brad James kicked a further penalty when OLs bullied the opposition into a mistake in their own 22 – bringing the score to 23-7.
Woodrush by this time were tiring and the constant pressure by OLs was rewarded when further good possession and drives by the forwards saw the ball quickly thrown along the home three-quarters for winger Liam Wellings to cross for the bonus try.
The try was unconverted but moved Old Leams into a 28 points to 7 lead that was maintained until the final whistle.
OLs are next in action on Saturday, January 13, against bottom club Old Wheatleyans.