Leamington 36 Bedworth 12: Spa reinvigorate promotion challenge with victory over Bedworth

Spa number eight Pete Blunt makes a charge for the Bedworth line. Picture: Gina RuysseveltSpa number eight Pete Blunt makes a charge for the Bedworth line. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
Spa number eight Pete Blunt makes a charge for the Bedworth line. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
With more sympathetic conditions and a firmer playing surface available, Spa got back to winning ways against a steadfast Bedworth side.

Spa made a lively start in front of a large crowd of vice-presidents, with Craig Smith taking clean lineout ball and giving Adam Preece the chance to run at the opposition.

Gareth Shuttleworth’s quickly taken penalty to Alex Carroll then allowed the Spa fly-half the opportunity to sell an outrageous dummy and make good ground before unleashing Jamie Harrison’s pace on the nearside wing. This passage of play brought Spa a penalty and although Tom Secher’s kick hit the upright and bounced clear, Jamie Harrison was first to react and get the vital touchdown. Secher made no mistake with conversion.

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The visitors’ response was almost immediate and they pushed Spa into the home 22. Good defending from Shuttleworth seemed to have relieved the pressure. However, the big Bedworth forwards took possession again and drove over the Spa line for a converted score.

This sparked Spa into life and Peter Blunt took control of loose lineout ball to break at pace and then link up with Harrison to ask questions of the Bedworth defence.

More good work from the tenacious Blunt added to Bedworth’s problems and with Spa gaining momentum, they took the lead again through a Secher penalty.

This period of high-tempo play brought further reward before the interval. Danny Ruyssevelt broke through the visitors’ defence at pace and found Secher in support. A lightning pass to Simon Magill allowed the winger to use his strength to muscle over for the try.

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Secher was just off target with the conversion, but after a shaky few moments in the opening minutes, Spa went in worthy of their 15-7 lead.

Spa were first out of the blocks in the second period and soon had Bedworth on the back foot.

The visitors had to soak up 15 minutes of near-constant pressure but in their first threatening attack of the second half they fell to a superb interception from Shuttleworth. The Spa scrum-half raced up the park and was just caught with the Bedworth line begging. However, Spa were on to the situation in numbers and Carroll sent out a long pass to Nathan Earland whose brilliant pick-up was followed with a clever break and try near the posts. Secher added the extras.

Spa continued to press home their advantage and went further ahead when Tom Greevy, Ruyssevelt and Blunt combined to get Scott Peters over the line under the posts.

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Although Spa fell to a second try from Bedworth, they were having the majority of play.

As the game moved into the closing stages Spa were still pressing to add to their tally and Shuttleworth’s quickly taken penalty was switched to Earland. With players lining up on his outside, Earland cut inside the Bedworth defence and cruised over near the posts, giving Secher the chance of the final say.

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