Old Laurentians, Newbold and Rugby St Andrews, plus Long Buckby 1sts
Warwickshire League 1
Earlsdon 2nds 10
Old Laurentian 2nds 13
In a forward dominated slug-out, OLs emerged the winners with a late Jody Roderick try, converted by Matt Miller.
Earlsdon opened the scoring with an unconverted try before Miller reduced the deficit with a penalty. The home side pushed on for another try to take a 10-3 lead but Miller again converted a penalty to pull the scores back to a four point margin. Earlsdon were then camped in the OLs half for most of the second half but resolute defence kept the scores stable.
The visitors for once finally opened up their game to create the opening for Roderick to outpace the defence and touch down under the posts.
This wasn’t the 2nds’ best performance of the season by a long way, but an ugly win is still a win and keeps the Bilton side in top spot in the league.
Pictured: OLs’ battle of the forwards at Earlsdon
NEWBOLD v RUGBY ST ANDREWS
Twos lose narrowly in a thrilling game
Buoyant after beating league leaders last week, Newbold twos travelled to Ashlawn Road to face a youthful St Andrews 2nd team. Newbold kicked off and were quickly on the front foot forcing an Andrews mistake, however a stray pass saw Saints capitalise and nearly score only for Newbold to concede a penalty. From close range the resulting Saints attempt sailed wide but the referee, deeming a Newbold player (H. Jardon) had illegally moved and put the kicker off his stroke, re-awarded the penalty and Saints led 3–0.
Midfield stalemate then ensued with the apprentice Danny Large and Rich Kirby leading the way for Newbold with some excellent work in the contact area – Both sides then swapped penalty kicks with Mike Bullock successful for Newbold bring the score to 6 - 3. Sustained pressure on the Saints line by Newbold with some pick and goes would surely result in a further score but decisions didn’t go their way and they came away with nothing.
Saints then enjoyed a purple patch moving Newbold left and right at the breakdown – quick hands forced an overlap and their winger raced through for a try extending their lead to 11–3. Newbold needed to bounce back and from a lineout 5 metres out, the catch and drive was well executed and Toe Nail burrowed his way over for an unconverted score 11–8 at half time.
With the game hanging in the balance it was Saints who struck first after the break – midfield runs got close to the Newbold line but again Danny Large was at hand to hold the ball up. His work was in vain though as his supporting team mates let a Saints player re- steal the ball and flop over the line for a soft converted try 18–8.
All bar a few passages of play the game then became all Newbold – camping on the Saints line, forward drive after forward drive resulted in a Shaun Heaton try converted by the reliable Bullock 18–15.
After many penalties conceded by the Saints, several under the shadow of their posts, Newbold eventually opted for a score levelling kick at posts. The attempt drifted agonising wide and Saints remained in front. The following 15 minutes saw everything being thrown at the Saints line including the proverbial – Winger Ashton went over the line, only to be held up manfully by one of the closely genetically linked muscle men.
Saints managed to work their way out of danger and with the last play signalled by the referee Newbold endeavoured to keep hold of the ball and work their way back up the field. The forwards carried and carried and despite the ball being available to play the referee blew for full time and a win by 3 points for the Andrews
A cracking game, well contested by both sides.
On Saturday Long Buckby played hosts to Leicester Vipers for a Midlands Two league match. Vipers are mid-table at the moment, having won three and lost three so far this season. Buckby went into this match hoping to build on the strong performance last week against Newbold. Hopes were high but were about to be dashed.
Vipers kicked off and within one minute had run in a try leaving Buckby’s defence flat footed and aghast. A dreadful start but clearly a fluke – except that one minute later, they did it again: this time under the posts. The conversion took the score to 0-12.
Buckby did well to gather their wits after such a dreadful opening and soon moved the action into the opponent’s half and began to look threatening. Nothing was to come of it however, and, having turned over possession, Vipers cleared and moved play down into the Buckby half. From a lineout on the Buckby 5m line, the visitors secured possession, set up a textbook driving maul and were soon rewarded with their third try and conversion. Only eleven minutes in and Buckby was already 0-17 down.
Things were looking bleak for home side and were set to get even worse. By the end of the half, Buckby was trailing 0-38.
Vipers opened the second half just as they had the first: by scoring an immediate try. Buckby were being tortured but managed to keep their composure. A boost came five minutes later when, from a quick tap penalty, Titch Ryan scooted through the Vipers defence and touched down for 5. At least Buckby was not going to suffer the humiliation of being nilled.
As may have been expected, Vipers response to this was to run in another try. By this stage it was clear that something was seriously wrong with the Buckby defence. Vipers appeared to be able to avoid tackles with ease and even when they were made, to shrug them off effortlessly.
At 5-50, a tiny glimmer of hope appeared when following a Long Buckby scrum on the opponent’s 22, a quick ruck and some slick handling by the forwards put Johnny Hughes over near the posts. McNally added the conversion to bring the score to 12-50. Vipers went on to run in a further two tries, bringing the final score to 12-64.