Leamington RUFC beat Spartans after late try secures bonus point win

Leamington edged past Spartans to claim a 26-22 victory.

Playing on a very cold, dank afternoon, Leamington had the brightest of starts, with a try in the opening minute when Conor Chamberlain played in Ed Gray, who breezed in to score. Full-back, Josh jones then slotted over the conversion.

Leamington quickly increased their lead following a lineout, where Gray had secured possession, before allowing his pack to set up a drive to the line that concluded with Gareth Shuttleworth getting the final touch. Jones once again obliged with the conversion.

The visitors, at this time, were having a torrid time at the hands of Leamington and things soon got worse for them when Nathan Batchelor scored a third try, following good work from Shuttleworth again, which was expertly converted by Jones.

Nathan Batchelor scoring for Leamington. Pic by Ken Pinfold.
Nathan Batchelor scoring for Leamington. Pic by Ken Pinfold.
Nathan Batchelor scoring for Leamington. Pic by Ken Pinfold.

Towards the end of the first period, Spartans suddenly found a gear and hit back with two tries and a conversion before the break.

Ed Gray’s lineout play nearly brought an early second-half score for Leamington, when two successive set piece passages, near the Spartans try line, were just held up. Prop, Simon Harry and Lock, John Brear also put in testing runs at the opposition.

Then, in a change of direction, the visitors sent a dangerous looking kick into the Leamington 22 metre zone; however, No8, Craig Smith showed his athleticism by racing back to tidy up.

With the clock showing nine minutes left for play, the match suddenly re-ignited as a concerted effort from the Spartans pack resulted in a converted score. The home supporters nerves then took a further jolt as Spartans slotted over a penalty to take the lead for the first time of the afternoon.

Further drama ensued when Leamington lost a second front row player. Scrums thus became uncontested and the home side were forced to sacrifice a player.

All of these ingredients set up a very tense closing minute or so of play. Leamington secured a penalty, which Garrett Bell drilled to the nearside touch. Possession was secured at the lineout and following several pick and drives, the ball was sent out towards the wing, where the ebullient Craig Smith, was on hand to finish off in grandstand style. Thus securing a valuable, bonus point win.