Last gasp score gives Leamington dramatic win over Old Coventrians

Character, capability and cohesion, at vital times, saw Leamington overcome a stubborn Old Coventrians side 39-34, with the match winner coming in the last play of the game.
Leamington’s Patrick Northover goes on the attack. Pic: Ken Pinfold.Leamington’s Patrick Northover goes on the attack. Pic: Ken Pinfold.
Leamington’s Patrick Northover goes on the attack. Pic: Ken Pinfold.

Leamington had the best of starts when a long range clearance kick from the hosts was fielded by Jonty Duncan, deep in his 22 metre zone. The Full Back, began a darting run, slicing through the home defence and racing into the Old Coventrians red zone, before calmly slipping an inside pass to the supporting, Greg Atherton, who was over for a breathtaking score. Patrick Northover quickly added the conversion.

The visitors then suffered an immediate set back, as Old Coventrians hit them with a try of their own.

The frenetic tempo of play, in these early stages, saw Leamington increase their lead with an exquisite try. Ed Gray won lineout possession and the ball was quickly sent out by Scrum-half, Sam Russell. Centre, Garrett Bell, took control in midfield and with the deftest of touches, slipped the ball to fellow Centre, Rich McKowen, who raced through to score. Northover once again obliged with the conversion.

Bell was then instrumental in testing the home defence with a mesmeric run before the hosts got themselves in front with three well worked tries, the latter two converted. The game had certainly changed at this point, with the momentum firmly with the Old Coventrians.

However, some very quick thinking was about to get Leamington back in gear and it was Bell who was once again in the driving seat. The visitors won a lineout on the near side and caught Old Coventrians cold by taking a quick throw-in, which Bell gratefully accepted and raced in from near the half way line for a sublime try. Northover added the icing on the cake with a perfectly struck, touchline conversion.

Just before the break, Old Coventrians hit back with a penalty goal.

Despite now playing against the slope, Leamington were quick to reduce the deficit when a break from Fly-Half, Northover, created an opening for Bell, who was in terrific form, and raced through from the deep, to claim another superb try.

Leamington, who were continually being pressed by the home pack, took the lead again with another eye catching score. Bell claimed possession in his 22 metre area and sent Duncan clear. The Full Back had Conor Chamberlain in support and when the ball was handed over, the winger hit the after-burners and rocketed up the wing and over for the try, leaving the home defence dead.

Now in the final quarter, Northover, sensibly, slotted over a penalty goal, when the chance came along, to give his side a seven point lead. However, in the last minutes of the game, Leamington fell to a “penalty try” and also lost a man to the bin, thus drawing the scores level.

This disadvantage did not dampen the aspirations of the visitors, who attacked from the restart. With the clock winding down, they won a penalty, which Bell cannoned to the far corner, setting up a lineout. The Leamington Pack, who had been very solid all afternoon, secured possession and then set about a drive to the line. Momentum stayed with the visitors and under a pile of breathless bodies, the Referee deemed the ball had been grounded, with Prop, Simon Harry getting the final touch.

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