Twickenham remains on the horizon for Old Leamingtonians


OLD Leamingtonians remain on course for Twickenham after a superb team display edged them into the regional final of the Senior Vase.

Rushden, riding high in Midlands Three East, attacked from the kick- off and made strong forward surges into OLs territory which were strongly resisted.

After a dominant opening ten minutes from the hosts, OLs came more into the game and began to test the Rushden defences out wide.

However, it was Rushden who took the lead with a long-range penalty that struck the upright and bounced over.

OLs responded with a series of backs moves that put Rushden on the defensive. From a rolling maul, fly-half Angus Rose sent out a long pass to full-back Andrew Skeene who came into the line and crossed for a well-worked try.

The conversion was missed and the game continued with both sides bogged down in midfield.

OLs more expansive gameplan again paid off just before half-time when another well-worked forward move saw the ball moved along the line for winger Liam Wellings to cross for their second try.

In difficult kicking conditions the conversion was missed to leave OLs with a 10-3 interval lead.

There was an instant reponse from the hosts who scored an unconverted try within 60 seconds of the restart, regaining possession from a maul and driving OLs back over their line.

The home supporters sensed a fightback but resolute defending restricted the rampant hosts to just a penalty as OLs trailed by a point going into the final quarter.

After weathering the storm, the visitors began to turn the screw on the Rushden forwards and a series of rolling mauls took play well inside the Northamptonshire side’s half. Back-row Will Johnson then broke from the maul and ran 30 metres through the Rushden defence to touch down wide out on the left.

The conversion attempt failed and Rushden hit back with two penalties to lead 17-15 with only minutes remaining.

However, their lead was to prove short-lived as straight from the restart, the hosts lost the ball and then infringed in the loose to leave Rose with an easy three points and OLs with a regional final against Stourbridge Lions.

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