RUGBY: Old Laurentians

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Emphatic win helps relegation worries

Midlands 1 West

Leamington 5

Old Laurentians 71

OLs claimed their expected win over bottom side Leamington on Saturday, but the scale of the victory probably surprised even their most optimistic supporters. Laurentians had to come away from this one with all the points to stay alive in the fight against relegation and this sort of situation has led in the past to a tentative and nervous approach to games of this importance. But no such inhibitions were on show in this encounter which rounded off a miserable season for their opponents.

Leamington stuck at their task with great spirit, shouted on by a good turnout of loyal supporters on the touchline. But the signs were ominous for them when OLs shunted them off the ball in the first scrum.

Carl Adams made a welcome return after a long layoff and his influence was apparent from the first whistle. His presence at number 8 also released Stuart Eborall to move over to 6 and display his full range of attacking skills.

After a couple of penalty misses from an OLs side anxious to get points on the board, seventeen minutes had passed before Adams picked up at the base of a close in scrum to send open side Andy Orbinson over for the first try, converted by Steve Pike.

Thereafter tries came at regular intervals, the next after a lineout on half way when Iain Wallis switched play back inside to John Carruthers, the fly half carving through the slightest gap before outstripping the defence for a fine try, Then, after Leamington lineout possession had been turned over, Danny Murch sent Eborall on his way, the flanker powering over from 40 metres out.

Mark Todd was next on the score sheet, the hooker touching down after good combination between Parker and Eborall and lifting the score to 26-0 after thirty minutes to secure the try bonus point.

OLs midfield trio of Carruthers, Wallis and Murch were now stretching the Leamington defence, helped by a plentiful supply of quick possession, and regularly bringing the back row and wings into play. Orbinson took full advantage of this to run in his second try before Murch bounced off several attempted tacklers go over from 35 metres to round off the first half scoring, the break reached with OLs 38-0 ahead.

OL’s Jamie Brightwell claimed a brace of tries inside the first ten minutes of the second half, the first after Adams and Parker combined well from a scrum to set up the chance, which the right wing finished with a strong run from half way. His second followed a great passage of interplay between forwards and backs, Brightwell getting up to finish the movement and hoist the half century of points.

Eborall then crossed for his second after Murch had made all the running before Leamington finally reaped the reward their endeavour had earned, going over for a try after seventeen minutes of the second half.

But OLs responded swiftly when Wallis made a half break before linking with Chris le Poidevin, the prop putting full back Luke Harris over. This was followed by another sweeping passage of play which ended when Adams gave the scoring pass to prop Garrie Reeve as full time approached, Steve Pike rounding off the scoring with his eighth successful conversion.

OL’s elation was soon tempered when the news arrived that Nuneaton Old Edwardians, their main rivals in the fight against relegation, had secured a handsome bonus point win over Old Halesonians. This Saturday the visitors to Fenley Field in the last league match of the season are second placed Sutton Coldfield. They are formidable opponents at any time, but OLs will be facing them with a weakened team, as a number of key 1st XV players will be in the tour party that leaves for the USA and the city of Minneapolis during the week.