Two late converted tries saw Leamington exit the Warwickshire Shield after a see-saw encounter at home to Silhillians.
The hosts were quick to open the scoring, with Garrett Bell’s intelligent chip gathered by Rich McKowen who raced in for a try converted by Jim Robertson.
Silhillians opened up the home defence on the far wing in their first attack and it was only Bell’s quick thinking and intervention that prevented a score.
A penalty goal from Jim Robertson was sandwiched by two from Sils before the home side added a second, well-worked try in the 26th minute. Winger Danny Ruyssevelt took possession and spun out from an attempted tackle before heading off down the right flank. His timely inside pass to McKowen allowed the fly-half to score his second try of the afternoon, with Robertson obliging with the conversion.
Sils hit back with a converted score before Leamington restored their lead in textbook style.
With the half drawing to a close, the visitors conceded a penalty which Robertson kicked to the far corner. Leamington took possession at the lineout and set up an unstoppable rolling maul which Lewis Kelsey finished off. Robertson claimed maximum points with an exquisite touchline conversion for a 24-13 interval lead.
Early second-half pressure from Sils was dealt with by two huge clearance kicks from Robertson before Leamington got back into their stride. Bell made a superb break from his own 22 and Leamington advanced into the danger zone. With the visiting defence expecting to see the ball moved out wide, scrum-half Chris John cut inside and darted over between the posts. Robertson added the conversion to give his side an 18-point lead.
Another forceful run from Bell, which included a delightful ‘show and take’, nearly opened up the Sils defence again and with 15 minutes of the match remaining, there looked to be only one winner.
The visitors got themselves back into the match with a converted score but Leamington quickly responded with one of their own. Bell was once again the provider, setting Gareth Shuttleworth away for a try which Robertson converted.
The momentum was now swinging towards Sils, though, and in a frenetic end to the game they opened up the home defence twice for converted scores to claim the narrowest of victories.