RUGBY UNION: OLD Leamingtonians positive start to their Midlands 3 West (South) campaign hit a stumbling block on Saturday against Rugby St Andrews.
OLs started Saturday’s game in positive fashion, forcing the home side onto the back foot in the opening minutes.
Following a number of early incursions into the St Andrews half of the field, a three-quarters move ended with centre Ciaran O’Connor crossing the line for a well-constructed try that was converted by full back Bradley James.
OLs continued to dominate the next ten minutes of play, but failed to add to their seven-point lead.
Play evened out after a period of domination for OLs, but the home side were then reduced to 14-men.
Though they had the man advantage, OLs failed to make hay during the ten minute sin bin. In fact, St Andrews clawed back the deficit to one point with two penalty kicks before half time.
Within minutes of the restart, second row Joe Talamini increased his growing try tally when he found himself on the end of a fine passing movement.
He forced his way over to score and the lead was further increased with a Brad James conversion to bring the score to 14-6.
OLs continued to press with good rolling maul technique, but time and time again – when in good attacking positions – the OL forwards conceded penalties for infringements and verbal indiscipline that gave the home side far too many opportunities to relieve pressure.
Prop Bill Johnson was yellow carded early in the second half, and his absence, plus other penalties, allowed St Andrews to gain good territorial advantage from which they took control and ran in six second half tries, four of which were converted.
Though OLs did score a late second half consolation try, and Bradley James added a kick, it proved too little too late as Rugby St Andrews ran out 44-22 winners.
OLs are next in action at home to Shipston on Stour RFC, kick off is at 3pm.