Old Leamingtonians’ forward control lays platform for win

Ciaran O'Connor on his way to scoring for Old Leamingtonians. Picture: Tim Nunan
Ciaran O'Connor on his way to scoring for Old Leamingtonians. Picture: Tim Nunan
  • Midlands Three West (South)
  • Old Leamingtonians 42 Upton On Severn 12

Old Leamingtonians continued their run of good form with a six-try victory over a well-drilled Upton side who competed strongly but were unable to cope with the fast-running home three-quarters or create enough structured moves to penetrate the strong OLs defence.

OLs took early control and after only five minutes, Upton infringed inside their 22 to concede a penalty which fly-half Henry Reynolds converted to open the scoring.

David Canning on his way to the try line.

David Canning on his way to the try line.

Upton hit back and from a deep kick-off the game was played inside the home 22 before the visitors crossed for a converted try.

The score was somewhat against the run of play and OLs responded with their forwards using the pick and drive to good effect. And, from a well-won ruck inside the 22, the ball was quickly fed along the line for centre David Canning to cross for the first of OLs’ tries 12 minutes in.

The conversion was pushed wide to leave the hosts with a slender one-point lead.

The match evened out and despite Upton winning good ball, OLs’ cover defence was a match for all that was thrown at them.

On the 20-minute mark, more forward pressure took OLs well into the opposing 22 before full-back Bradley James came into the line to force his way over for try number two. Henry Reynolds added the conversion.

OLs were now dictating play and a forward drive following a lineout on the five-metre line ended with scrum-half Mark Foley collecting the ball and being forced over by the pack.

Reynolds again converted.

With half-time approaching, second-row Joe Tallamini collected a pass and ran through the visitors’ defence to touch down.

The conversion was pushed wide but a penalty in front of the posts from Reynolds gave OLs a 30-7 half-time lead to go with their bonus point.

Upton had the wind and sun advantage for the second half and the game was equally shared for the first 20 minutes, with the visitors opening the scoring with a well-constructed unconverted try wide out on the right.

The try again spurred OLs into a higher gear and with their forwards gaining control and free running three-quarters moving the ball well, only desperate defence prevented a number of tries.

The fifth OLs try did come when a well-judged crossfield kick allowed James to collect and cut through the retreating Upton defence to touch down. The conversion was missed.

With five minutes remaining, another period of solid forward play took the ball well into the Upton 22. A loose kick out of defence was collected by James who ran at the Upton defence before slipping the ball inside to winger Ciaran O’Connor who touched down beneath the posts.

Reynolds’ conversion rounded off a solid performance from the home side.