Leamingotn 26 Droitwich 20: Byrne shows a clean pair of heels as Leamington evade Droitwich’s grasp

Leamington's Tom Greevy takes on the Droitwich defence during Saturday's Midlands Two West (South) encounter. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
Leamington's Tom Greevy takes on the Droitwich defence during Saturday's Midlands Two West (South) encounter. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt

In the battle of the Spa towns, it was Leamington who ultimately took the spoils ina nervy encounter.

Leamington were short on confidence coming into the match and although they took an early lead through a Nathan Earland penalty, the game swung in favour of the determined Droitwich outfit in the 27th minute when they drew level with a penalty of their own.

They continued to pressurise Leamington and Danny Ruyssevelt had to step in with a fine tackle to stop their momentum, then Matt Patching was on hand with a clever steal to stem the flow.

The visitors failed with a penalty attempt but did go in at the interval seven points clear after a successful drive under the posts.

Leamington began the second period with renewed vigour and a quickly taken penalty from Ruyssevelt nearly brought a score under the posts. When the visitors failed to clear the ball and, with the referee playing advantage, Dan Kane skipped through the Droitwich defence to score. Earland just failed with the conversion attempt.

The hosts continued to threaten and Scott Peters forced his way through while Tom Greevy made good ground.

Earland was linking well with debutant scrum-halfJoe Walton and the duo combined to get the ball to Rich Smith on the left wing, who was unlucky to lose his footing in the opposition 22.

Droitwich took advantage of a penalty opportunity to increase their lead.

However, they soon fell behind thanks to a piece of sheer persistence from Leamington. Mark Baldwin broke down the left wing and with defenders closing in, he kicked ahead and gave chase. Droitwich took possession and attempted a clearance kick, which cannoned off Baldwin, allowing him to take control and race in to score a fine individual try. Earland made no mistake with the conversion.

Baldwin then broke through the middle of the park and, with Kane, Smith and Ruyssevelt in support, put sufficient pressure on the visitors to force them to give away a penalty which Earland coolly despatched.

The match was turning into a very tight affair and when Leamington were penalised at a lineout, Droitwich quickly moved the ball out and scored in the corner. From the acutest of angles the conversion went over and once again the lead had changed hands.

With the tension rising, Leamington tried to keep calm and gained good position following Earland’s testing kick. Patching stole the ball at the ensuing lineout and with the referee playing advantage and nothing to lose, Earland’s drop-goal sailed over to give his side a one-point lead.

With Leamington once again on the attack, Droitwich claimed possession and began what looked to be a counter.

However, they dropped the ball and Peter Blunt swooped on the chance to quickly feed Ryan Byrne on the wing. With the Droitwich defenders snapping at his heels, the nifty winger outsprinted them and crashed in at the corner for the clincher.