Injury disruptions make it long afternoon for Spa

Toby Bruce touches down for Leamington. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
Toby Bruce touches down for Leamington. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
  • Midlands Two West (South)
  • Nuneaton Old Edwardians 39 Leamington 5

Leamington suffered a frustrating afternoon in Nuneaton, on a ground that over recent years has brought them mixed fortunes.

While they will concede they were not at their best, injuries to three key players during the match played a major role in disrupting the rhythm of the squad.

Nuneaton took an early lead with a converted try and although Leamington showed some promise with a fine run from winger Will Fievet, they were nearly undone again by an incisive attack down the nearside flank by the hosts. It was only the intervention of a superb covering tackle by Danny Ruyssevelt that prevented a score.

By this time, hooker Harry Gooch had already left the park and the start of Leamington’s injury-plagued afternoon had begun.

The travelling support then got a glimpse of the real Leamington as the visitors scored a quite brilliant try. Ruyssevelt broke out of his half at pace and got the ball to the lively Fievet on the wing. The right-winger hit the accelerator pedal, catching the home defence flat-footed and linked up with Toby Bruce, who raced in for the score.

Nuneaton replied with a penalty goal and when they upped the pressure, forcing a series of set-pieces in the Leamington 22-metre zone, they found the visitors’ pack in solid shape.

The alert Joe Walton finally brought relief, getting in a slick pass from a solid Leamington scrum to Alex Carroll, who cleared his lines with a long-range boot into touch.

As the half drew to a close, Leamington seemed to have thwarted a Nuneaton attack on their line, only for the match official to deem it was a home attacker who had got the final touch of the ball and award a try.

To make matters worse, Leamington conceded another score just before the break and, from a modest 10-5 deficit, they were suddenly 17 points adrift.

The second period brought no material reward for Leamington’s efforts despite their continued enterprise.

Gareth Shuttleworth, now having to revert to the wing as the injury list mounted, got his side on the attack from deep inside his 22 with a strong kick upfield. His follow-up chase just failed to get the reward it deserved as the home side cleared the danger.

Where Spa will be disappointed, however, is with a couple of very costly lapses in concentration, which brought the home side two scores and finally put the game to bed.

One further, converted score, was conceded by Leamington before the end of the game, on a day that had once again seen their injury list grow.

n Two Leamington players turned out for international representative teams over the weekend. Gavin Grant made his debut for Scotland’s rugby league team against France on Saturday and on Sunday Josh Orr played for the Welsh Exiles Under-18s against Irish Exiles.