RUGBY: Saints win 17-14 against Old Coventrians in battle of unbeaten sides
Rugby St Andrews go top of the table ahead of visit of Old Leamingtonians
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midlands 3 West (South): Rugby St Andrews 17 Old Coventrians 14
Saints entertained the only other unbeaten team in the league, with Old Coventrians sitting top courtesy of their five bonus-point wins with Saints just two points behind them.
Saints knew victory would be good enough to see them leapfrog their visitors to head the table for the first time this season.
This was always going to be a tight encounter and with the rain steadily falling it was going to come down to discipline and who would take their chances.
The first score arrived after 12 minutes with the visitors taking play into the Saints 22, recycling the ball well to eventually find a gap to crash over for a converted try.
Saints responded well, taking play deep into the visitors’ half and forcing them into mistakes.
A penalty was kicked to the corner, the line out was cleanly won, and the resulting maul was driven over the line for a try claimed by Martin Wolfenden, converted by Will Morgan to level the scores after 18 minutes.
Minutes later Saints repeated the feat in the opposite corner with Kalum Goodfellow claiming the try.
A break through midfield then set up position for OCs in the Saints 22 and when the hosts were penalised at the breakdown the visitors took a quick tap penalty and spotted the gap to cross for another converted try.
Saints came storming out the blocks for the second half and a deft kick in behind the defence from Ryan Taylor caused confusion and George Lee was able to collect the loose ball and dive over in the corner to restore the lead.
The defensive effort from Saints was immense, the line speed cutting down the space and forcing OCs into kicking the ball away to try and make ground.
With five minutes remaining Saints had a player yellow carded for a high tackle. Despite this they continued applying the pressure and kept OCs at bay.
With time almost up OCs were penalised at the breakdown as they tried to wrestle possession back and Saints calmly cleared their lines to record a well-earned victory.
Man of the Match – Grant Taylor.
Saints will have to be on top form again this week when they entertain Old Leamingtonians.
Rugby St Andrews 2nd 5 Newbold 3rd 10: Another excellent performance in poor conditions saw Saints almost claim a victory in their fifth local derby of the season. Captain Matt Rudd led the way and claimed Saints’ only score of the match. Man of the Match was Luke Hulley.
Rugby St Andrews Colts beat Pinley Colts 42-5.