PICTURES BY CHRIS READING
Old Laurentians narrowly claimed the win points against a capable and determined Leamington XV 20-18, the encounter a mirror image of the earlier match between the sides this season when OLs also came through with a slender two-point victory, writes Bill Wallis.
The Midlands 2 West (South) game was played for the Brian White Cup, in memory of a rugby stalwart with strong connections to both clubs and contested at every meeting between them.
OLs did score three tries to their opponents’ two and could claim the win was deserved, but they can’t take any satisfaction from the high penalty count against them, two of which led directly to Leamington’s tries
Leamington’s backs looked dangerous with quick possession, regularly spreading the ball wide.
OLs’ defence held their best efforts but failed to follow their example with wings Toby Rigg and Jonny Ure, both dangerous runners and proven try scorers, barely seeing the ball. OLs took an early lead when Ben Scott went over after Nick Pogieter caught Leamington napping with a quickly taken penalty, Jon Bean adding the goal points. Bean added a penalty to lift OLs’ lead to 10-0 after 20 minutes but the rest of the half belonged to Leamington. Twice they forced penalties in OLs’ 22, twice they kicked for the corner and each time drove over from the resultant lineouts to take a 10-12 lead into half time.
Ten minutes into the second half OLs sent on their one man ‘bomb squad’ when prop Ben Nuttall came off the bench. He joined a lineout 10 metres out from Leamington’s line and his first act was to peel round the back of the lineout and charge over, unstoppably, for a try, all of 30 seconds after he joined the fray!
Five minutes later Scott went over for his second try to put OLs 20-12 ahead and seemingly coasting home.
But two more penalties conceded on their 22 allowed Leamington’s full back Dunne to calmly convert both into points to leave OLs hanging on to claim the win.
This weekend fifth-placed OLs are due to host Earlsdon, in 11th spot.