Jewitt holds his nerve at the death to earn Leamington dramatic victory

Lewis Kelsey looks to get Leamington on the attack. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
Lewis Kelsey looks to get Leamington on the attack. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
  • Midlands Two West (South)
  • Barkers Butts 20 Leamington 23

Leamington had to show plenty of adaptability to gain this hard-fought win, with injuries forcing them to throw on replacements Patrick Northover and Ed Thompson inside the first 20 minutes.

Barkers Butts began at a high tempo but the visitors had the first clear-cut chance of the afternoon, with Danny Ruyssevelt just held up short of the line.

After a frenetic opening 20 minutes, a stray Leamington pass inside their 22 was quickly snaffled up by an alert attacker and suddenly Barkers were seven points clear.

A penalty further increased the arrears before Leamington got themselves back in the game with a well-struck Tom Jewitt penalty.

The three points gave them momentum and a direct run from winger Garrett Bell gained both possession in the home 22 and a penalty. Using their forwards to full effect, Leamington kept ball in hand and when the opportunity arose, Craig Smith dived in for the try.

Jewitt was just off target with the conversion attempt, but, as the half-time whistle arrived, Leamington were back in full contention at 10-8 down.

Despite an enterprising start to the second period, Leamington fell further behind, courtesy of a penalty goal.

However, 13 minutes into the half, they produced some very neat football to claim the lead for the first time.

Scott Peters held the ball at the back of a maul and first cut inside and then fooled the opposition with a quick move to his right before getting possession away to Aled Thomas in support. As the cover defence reacted, Thomas sent out the neatest of passes to Gareth Shuttleworth who raced in for the try converted by Jewitt.

The anticipated response from Barkers Butts, while penetrative, was well marshalled by some sound Leamington defending, with both Sam Nunn and Jewitt getting in some well-judged kicks to touch.

Northover was also making his presence felt with some dynamic tackling.

Leamington went further ahead via another well-executed attack, Thomas and Tom Lane exchanging quick passes before getting the ball to Ed Thompson, who dived over in the corner.

As the game entered its final stages there was still plenty of excitement to contend with in this very absorbing match and Barkers Butts got themselves level with a score under the posts.

However, there was still time for one final twist.

The last attack from the home side was cleared by the boot of Nunn and play now centred on the far wing.

Garrett Bell put the Barkers defence on alert with a trademark direct run and when this was halted unfairly, Leamington were awarded a penalty.

Although Jewitt had nailed an earlier conversion attempt from a similar position, the situation was now high pressure, as he knew a successful kick would give his side a crucial victory.

Keeping his nerves under control he sent over the perfect kick and as the touch judges’ flags were raised, the referee obliged with the final whistle.