Malvern laid down their marker for the afternoon by taking possession from Leamington’s kick-off and using the undoubted speed they have in attack to open up the home defence and score a converted try.
This was an immediate jolt to Leamington’s gameplan and matters did not improve throughout, for what was a tough afternoon for the hosts.
Leamington responded with a promising attack. However, their normally successful ploy in the lineout failed to get any reward and therefore, when the opportunity arose, they took advantage of a penalty to get some points on the board courtesy of Tom Jewitt’s boot.
A try-saving tackle from Leamington skipper Craig Smith halted a Malvern threat but the visitors retained possession and once again found a hole in the Leamington defence for their second converted score.
The Malvern squad, while in positive mood, were caught napping by Patrick Northover’s use of the quick tap penalty and were then carved wide open by a breathtaking run from Smith. Unfortunately, he lacked support and when the visitors finally responded, they suddenly found themselves with both possession and the pace in attack to rip through the home defence for converted score number three.
These lapses in defence were becoming costly for Leamington. However, they did get some respite with a try from winger Jamie Anderson which was quickly followed up with a clever chip and chase from Sam Nunn that almost unlocked the Malvern defence.
As the half drew to a close, Malvern increased their advantage with a penalty to go in at the interval 28-8 up.
The pace of the Malvern attack was the difference between the two sides as Leamington were perfectly comfortable in the scrum and were taking some of the visitors’ ball in the lineout, with some outstanding performances from Matt Shelton and Tom Lane, superbly abetted by Smith.
Two further converted scores followed for the visitors before Leamington were able to reply.
They did, however, in fine style, winning a scrum and forcing the Malvern pack to backpedal at some speed. The visitors were forced into conceding a penalty and from the resulting lineout, Leamington set up an unstoppable drive with Tom Lane stealing Lewis Kelsey’s thunder by taking possession and getting the all-important touchdown.
Although Malvern had the final say with another converted score, Leamington did show their multi-tasking virtues when Aled Thomas took over from the injured Smith and evidenced some superb skills at number eight.
He took control of the ball at the base of the scrum and then picked at the appropriate time, sold a dummy pass to the Malvern defence and then set his back line away. Unfortunately, this promising passage of play failed to get the warranted reward for the home side.
Leamington are back in action tomorrow when they travel to Nuneaton Old Edwardians (3pm).