Leamington are no match for league leaders

Despite having a mixture of youth, guile and experience in their squad, Leamington were unable to dent the impressive record of league leaders, Luctonians II, coming away from Herefordshire defeated, 47-12.
Leamington Second Row, Greg Atherton, securing lineout possession. Pic: Ken Pinfold.Leamington Second Row, Greg Atherton, securing lineout possession. Pic: Ken Pinfold.
Leamington Second Row, Greg Atherton, securing lineout possession. Pic: Ken Pinfold.

Luctonians II have now won all of their nineteen league games this season, amassing maximum points, however, they had to wait until the 25th minute of this fixture, before getting on the scoresheet, such was the enterprise of Leamington’s play.

The visitors defence was showing resilience when put under pressure, with Full back, Chris John, putting in timely tackles on each wing, to halt promising attacks from Luctonians and the Leamington pack were causing concern in the home defence with some strong running from Locks, John Brear and Greg Atherton.

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However, once Luctonians had crossed over for an unconverted score, three further, converted scores followed in quick succession, before the half time break.

The wide pitch was well suited to Leamington’s style of running rugby and like the first period, the visitors were full of confidence with ball in hand in the second half. Both wingers; Sam Russell and Louis Harvey, were self-assured to run at the home defence and Centres, Rich McKowen and Freddie Spencer were using their formidable power to try to force through an opening.

The home side were also finding it difficult to reign in the Leamington pack; Rich Mullis was having great success in the lineout and in the second half, with brothers Ant, making his First XV debut, and Nathan Batchelor joining Simon Harry in the front row, the scrum was holding firm, against the sizeable home set of forwards.

Where, however, the home side profited, was in their ability to suddenly attack in waves, from all angles and it was from such positions that they were able to increase their lead with three further converted scores.

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Leamington were also able to give first team debuts to two talented Colts; winger, Owen Treanor and versatile forward, Archie Thompson, Both produced positive performances and were able to experience the best of this league’s opposition.

The match, which had been a very entertaining spectacle, courtesy of the endeavour of both squads, still had a couple of surprises left, particularly, for the home support.

First shock came when Leamington Back Row maestro, Gareth Shuttleworth, took possession deep in his own half, after good work from Archie Thompson and set off on a mesmeric run upfield. Support was initially late coming and therefore the “Leamington Express” had to carry the ball unaided, fending off tackles and making good inroads into the home defence.

Near the try line the attack was initially halted, although by now, the Leamington attack was in full flow and as the ball was presented, John Brear was on hand to take possession and force his way over. Patrick Northover stepped up to slot the conversion.

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Further impressive play soon followed as once again, from a strong attacking position, the home side conceded a score.

Luctonians were camped near the Leamington try line again and looking dangerous, however they were caught flapping when Rich McKowen stepped in with an outrageous steal from under their noses, which resulted in a chase, the full length of the pitch.

With the “hue and cry of Luctonia” in hot pursuit, Mckowen, edged, tantalisingly, away from the chasing pack to score a glorious, individually crafted try.

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