Below-strength Old Leamingtonians fail to make the most of opportunities

Old Leamingtonians' Adam Stannard is halted within touching distance of the tryline.
Old Leamingtonians' Adam Stannard is halted within touching distance of the tryline.
  • Midlands Three West (South)
  • Old Leamingtonians 5 Shipston on Stour 18

With half of their first choice starting XV missing due to injury or unavailability, Old Leamingtonians were made to pay for errors and poor distribution at home to Shispton.

The strong wind caused both teams difficulty but a strong rearguard action from OLs into the teeth of it restricted Shipston to just a single long-range penalty in the opening 40 minutes.

After the turnaround, OLs had the benefit of the conditions but failed to reap any reward.

For the first 20 minutes of the second half the home side were camped inside the Shipston 22 but despite the forwards winning good attacking ball, too many poor passes and handling errors spared Shipston.

Old Leamingtonians were then made to pay for not turning their pressure and possession into points when Shipston ruthlessly exposed them after they had seen a player sent to the sin-bin.

The visitors demonstrated that quick ball and skilful handling could result in tryscoring moves, crossing twice in this period.

Lock Rhys Cory did manage to score a forward-led pushover try for OLs to reduce the deficit to five points.

However, with the hosts committed to attack, a breakaway try from Shipston sealed OLs’ fate.

n Travelling with just 16 players, Old Leamingtonians Ladies suffered only their second defeat of the season, going down 38-21 at Bletchley Ladies.

Old Leamingtonians made the perfect start when second-row Charlie Stephens stole a Bletchley ball from a ruck and proceeded to power through some shambolic tackling to score.

Scrum-half Ffion Davies-Cale added the conversion.

Bletchley were stung into action and, after a period of pressure, their backs evaded the OLs defence for their first try of the match.

The visitors responded well, with skipper Jen Vermeulen’s quick tap catching Bletchley unprepared for a try again converted by Davies-Cale.

After a period when both teams cancelled each other out, Bletchley scored their second try of the afternoon to cut the deficit to two points at the interval.

Strong pressure from the home side allowed them to score a try quickly after the resumption and they followed it up with a second touchdown after an interception from the Bletchley number 12 gave her a clear run to the line.

Flanker Leah Heath broke the home side’s scoring streak with OLs’ third try of the match, breaking through to cross after the visitors again used a quick tap penalty to good effect.

Davies-Cale kept up her 100 per cent conversion rate to bring OLs within a converted score of the home side.

However, Bletchley eased into a 17-point lead courtesy of two further tries and despite Old Leamingtonians responding with a concerted spell of pressure which saw them camped in the home side’s 22, they were unable to breach a determined defence.