Leamington power to six try win over Manor Park

Leamington Fly-Half Lewis Vaughan on the attack.Leamington Fly-Half Lewis Vaughan on the attack.
Leamington Fly-Half Lewis Vaughan on the attack.
A very professional, all round performance, saw Leamington secure a six try, 35 points to 20, victory, over Manor Park and in doing so, leap-frog the Nuneaton side, to go third place in Counties 1 Midland West (South).

Spring-like conditions and a firm playing surface, together with two well drilled sides, made for a very entertaining match, and the hosts could not have wished for a better start, as they went ahead in the opening minute. Having secured possession at the scrum, the ball was moved out wide, with Full Back, Chris John making the decisive punch through the Manor Park defence, before setting Ed Gray away for the try.

The visitors were very quick to respond, setting up a series of attacks in the Leamington 22 metre zone, which needed some very resolute defending, to manage. The Leamington pack took full responsibility to contain the visitors, at this buoyant time for them, and restricted them to a lone penalty goal, for all of their concerted efforts.

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Following their score, the visitors continued to pressure the Leamington defence, however, they conceded a penalty in the hosts red zone and could only watch in horror, as the ball was run, at pace, the length of the pitch. Ed Gray was once again expertly positioned to deliver the try scoring pass to winger, Garrett Bell. Patrick Northover then added the conversion.

Leamington were beginning to impose themselves on their opposition, and midway through the half they were able to add to the scoreline. Centre, Rich McKowen, put in a strong tackle, in defence, to stop an attack and his partner in midfield, Freddy Spencer, sent out a huge clearance kick to set his side on the attack. Play was halted with Manor Park conceding a penalty, which the hosts kicked for position. Ed Gray claimed possession from the lineout and enabled his forwards to set up an unstoppable rolling maul, finished off superbly by Gareth Shuttleworth.

The hosts were now in full control of the game and playing some very neat football. They finished the first period with another well-worked try, emanating from a penalty. Lineout possession secured the ball, which was initially recycled through the hands of the pack. Catching the opposition cold, Ed Gray sent in a delightful chip through the defence, towards the far corner of the pitch, which was quickly latched on to by skipper, Joe Kinghorn who was over in an instant.

Leamington had a bright start to the second half, with Centre, Freddy Spencer opening the Manor Park defence with a break up the middle of the park, before Fly-Half, Lewis Vaughan, having a fine individual game, nearly unlocked the door following a jinking run.

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However, with ten minutes played of the half, Manor Park, using their bulky set of forwards, hit back with a converted score.

Leamington though, through their own very effective pack, more or less

the game to bed with another well-engineered score. Working the ball up the nearside flank, the home forwards set up a relentless pick and drive passage of play, with Prop, Louis Dunbavin, taking every opportunity to seek a gap in the Manor Park defensive wall. It was from one of these drives from Dunbavin, that the ball was secured, before being unleashed to the left, where Rich McKowen gratefully accepted the gift and raced through to score.

The opposition once again showed their strength with an unconverted try, before Northover stepped up with a long range penalty goal, and give Leamington an unassailable lead. This was further emphasised from the restart when Freddy Spencer took possession and got his side quickly back on the attack. He sent in a clever kick to his left-hand side, which Mckowen took full advantage of to race in for his second score of the afternoon.

In the dying embers of the match, Manor Park gained another try for their efforts, although the victory was by now, firmly with the home side.

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