Banbury 18 Leamington 0: Spa draw a blank at Banbury as unbeaten run comes to an end

Leamington’s nine-game run without defeat was finally ended on Saturday after they were outgunned by an an impressive Banbury pack.

Banbury's James Page slips past Danny Kane. Picture: Banbury Guardian
Banbury's James Page slips past Danny Kane. Picture: Banbury Guardian

Once again, conditions affected the quality of play, with a driving crosswind and rain making ball- handling treacherous.

Spa kicked off with the slight advantage of the wind, but a second-minute penalty went begging as Patrick Northover’s kick drifted wide.

Sign up to our daily WarwickshireWorld Today newsletter

With Spa having the better of play, Northover then sent over a clever chip which winger Ryan Byrne just failed to latch on to.

Banbury were finding it difficult to get into Spa’s half in the opening 20 minutes and, despite a couple of kicks up the line, they continually found themselves back-pedalling.

However, the hosts continued to defend in depth and managed to keep Spa at bay.

When Banbury finally put together a concerted period of attack, it soon became evident why they had gone six games without defeat.

Their big set of forwards got to the pace of the game and, although they still faced a strong wind, they began to put Spa under pressure.

This time it was Spa that had to dig deep and defend. In one move, Banbury sent the ball along their back division and nearly broke through on the nearside wing.

Although the conditions were far from conducive for running rugby, play fluctuated from end to end.

From a Banbury drop-out, the visitors nearly broke the deadlock following a quick-fire attack which saw the ball pass through the hands of Alex Carroll, Pete Blunt and Dan Kane, before Tom Daplyn was held up.

At the other end, Jamie Harrison saved the Spa defence with a try-saving tackle as Banbury broke through at pace, while Northover nearly brought Leamington reward with a clever break, which again just failed to get over the game line.

The 0-0 interval scoreline was testimony to the quality of both sides’ defensive efforts, but with the slight advantage of the wind, Banbury were able to turn it into points after the break.

Spa had the first opportunity when Northover’s run was halted unfairly and Danny Ruyssevelt took a quick penalty to put Banbury under pressure.

However, when Banbury were awarded a penalty in Spa’s 22, they took advantage to finally break the deadlock.

This was followed by a very strong surge by the Banbury forwards which won them another penalty.

With advantage being played, they forced the ball towards the posts and got the vital touchdown.

A ten-point deficit would have been well within Spa’s capabilities of retrieving, but against a formidable set of forwards and with the elements against them, it was to prove too much.

They did manage another clever break, when Carroll set Jamie Harrison off on a mesmeric run but Banbury edged further away with another penalty goal.

Then, in the final minutes, Banbury ran in a try to finish worthy winners.