Leamington fail to stop Stoke’s relentless march


Leamington bowed out at the quarter-final stage of the Midlands Intermediate Cup at the hands of last year’s winners, Stoke-on-Trent.

Their visitors are top of Midlands Two West (North), having yet to drop a point, and they put in a very strong performance to progress.

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Spa started promisingly as Simon Harry and Serg Paddan led a rolling maul into Stoke territory.

Stoke hit back with a penalty goal in the seventh minute and then Spa took the lead with a slick try in the far corner.

Fly-half Nathan Earland created space for Alex Carroll to exploit and number eight Alex Sharman provided the vital link and took the final pass to charge over.

This was to be one of Spa’s few positive passages of play in the first half as Stoke eventually upped the tempo and impressed with some confident attacking play.

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They pounced on a lapse in Spa’s defence to score a try under the posts and shortly after executed a simple loop move, which created the space for a score in the corner.

Leamington were having to dig deep in defence to avert further scores as Stoke increased the pressure.

Before the half-time break, Stoke found themselves with a three-man overlap and compounded Spa’ misery with a try in the corner to go in at the break 20-5 up.

Stoke immediately hit Spa with a try after the break and despite some excellent defensive work by the home side, in particular from Patrick Northover, Harry and Barry Gordon, they scored a further try, this time converted to increase their advantage.

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During this period, Spa once again had to work very hard on defensive duties to prevent a deluge.

Leamington eventually managed to stop the rot and a period of strong attacking play was rewarded with a try for Alex Sharman after a quickly taken penalty.

John Robertson and Tom Daplyn put in some strong runs to upset Stoke’s rhythm, but Spa were unable to break down a stubborn defence and conceded two further scores before the final whistle.

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