Leamington slip to a narrow defeat at Evesham

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A nail-biting finish in Counties 1 Midlands West (South)

Leamington suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Evesham, by 29 points to 28, in a game that exploded into life in the final quarter.

Both teams are capable of securing third spot in this exciting league and therefore, this was a game of immense interest and not surprisingly then, began in tentative fashion.

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Leamington centre, Freddie Spencer, was first to shine with two strong runs at the Evesham defence. However, soon after, full back, Chris John, was called into action to stymie a promising attack from the hosts, with a timely tackle, freeing the ball and allowing Sam Russell to send out a clearance kick.

Mark Symonds scoring for Leamington, picture by Ken PinfoldMark Symonds scoring for Leamington, picture by Ken Pinfold
Mark Symonds scoring for Leamington, picture by Ken Pinfold

The deadlock was finally broken on around 28 minutes of play, with a converted score from the hosts and this was to be the only entry in the scorebook for the first period of play.

The second half was certainly a more open affair, with Evesham scoring three quick tries in succession, to lead 26 nil.

Leamington had been competing in all areas and would have been disappointed that the scoreline did not reflect the balance of play. They were soon to counter this, however, and began a fightback in style. Securing a penalty in midfield, prop, Louis Dunbavin took a quick tap, sent Simon Harry off on a run, which opened the door for Ed Gray to score. Debutant, Joe Johnston, added the conversion. From the restart, Spencer claimed possession and set off on another trademark run. From this sound position, Leamington continued to press and in doing so, forced the opposition into conceding a number of penalties, allowing Mark Symonds to profit with a try, converted by Johnston.

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Evesham hit back with a penalty goal, however they were soon back defending, as Leamington moved up a gear. More delinquent defending by the hosts earned them two yellow cards and a "penalty try" and when Ed Gray, finished off a sublime run out of defence by Chris John, to bring the score to within one point, the home support were on tenderhooks. Fortunately for them, time was on their side as the match official called time.

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