RUGBY: Plenty of positives from Saints' first game at higher level
Rugby St Andrews travel to Kenilworth this weekend
PICTURES BY DAVID LEATHLEY
Midlands 2 West (South)
Rugby St Andrews 14 Evesham 32
Saints started life in Midlands 2 with a defeat but there were positives to come out of this first match at a higher level.
Had it not been for indiscipline with resulted in two yellow cards and several unforced errors which handed back possession to Evesham at critical times the outcome may have been different.
The opening exchanges were fairly even, with Saints smaller pack more than holding their own against bigger opposition and backs closing down their opposite numbers well.
The breakthrough came after 16 minutes, the pack drove through several phases of play to take the game into the Evesham 22 before moving the ball to the backs where winger Jordan Loydall appeared in midfield to cut a great line through the defence for the first try of the season, converted by Ryan Taylor.
The Evesham backs came into the game more as they tried to move the ball quickly but were restricted to a single penalty on 22 minutes.
Excellent line speed from the backs forced Evesham into a handling mistake on half way and Ryan Taylor put boot to ball but was narrowly beaten to it by the Evesham winger, who was then caught in possession on his own line with Saints quickest to respond, turning over possession to allow debutant Will Morgan to snipe over for a try which he also converted after 33 minutes.
It looked as if Saints would take this lead into half time but after repeated warnings from the referee a yellow card was brandished. Evesham took full advantage, kicking the resulting penalty to the corner before eventually forcing their way over for a unconverted try on the stroke of half-time.
With Saints still down to 14 men Evesham kept up the pressure and were rewarded with a converted try within two minutes of the restart to take the lead for the first time in the game.
With Saints back to full strength the teams cancelled each other out until Saints were again penalised on the hour and Evesham extended their lead with a well-struck long-range penalty.
Evesham were looking to use their quick backs more, but the Saints defence was holding firm despite at times being stretched. It was finally breached after 67 minutes when Evesham added another converted try. Saints pushed forward but again indiscipline cost them as a second yellow was issued and Evesham again took advantage.
They kicked the penalty to the corner and a series of short-range drives were initially thwarted by the tiring Saints defence but Evesham patiently keep plugging away and eventually drove over for their fourth try, converted to bring up a bonus point.
A disappointing day for Saints as they started life in Midlands 2 but there were positives to be taken from the game, they will need to cut out the unforced errors and put in a disciplined performance when they travel to Kenilworth this week.
Rugby St Andrews 2nd XV 86 Coventry Welsh 2nd XV 10
The seconds showed what good depth Saints have available as a side made up of youth and experience overcame a spirited Cov Welsh side with pace and power in a one-sided contest.