Old Leamingtonians step it up in the second half

Ciaran O'Connor on his way to the tryline for Old Leamingtonians against Shipston. Picture: Tim Nunan
Ciaran O'Connor on his way to the tryline for Old Leamingtonians against Shipston. Picture: Tim Nunan
  • Midlands Three West (South)
  • Old Leamingtonians 30 Shipston-on-Stour 15

OLs bounced back to winning ways with a comfortable success over Shipston despite allowing the visitors to dominate territory for long periods of the first half.

OLs kicked off and gained a penalty within seconds of the start for offside, allowing stand-off Brad James to convert a long-range three-pointer.

The lead was shortlived as Shipston gained a penalty in front of the posts to bring the scores level.

The game continued to be played inside the OLs half with the home side displaying excellent defence but failing to convert good possession, when gained, into positive link-up play.

The home side did regain the lead when James converted a second penalty to provide another shortlived lead before Shipston’s first-half dominance created a try to move them ahead.

The conversion attempt was wide and just when it looked as though the visitors would end the first half with a lead, the OL forwards gained the ball from a lineout inside the Shipston ten-metre zone and began a rolling maul that involved all of the forwards and quite a few of the backs.

It ended over the Shipston line with scrum-half Mark Foley touching down for a try that went unconverted but gave OLs an 11-8 interval lead.

The second half saw a complete transformation in OLs’ play with the three-quarters being brought more into the game and some excellent flowing rugby keeping Shipston on the defensive.

Quicker ball from the hard-working forwards enabled the back line to move it at speed and three excellent tries were scored by Old Leamingtonians.

The first saw winger Ciaran O’Connor gather the ball wide out and outstrip the defence to touch down between the posts for a converted try.

The next backs try came courtesy of another smart move, with centre Simon Hemming touching down, again converted by James.

The bonus-point was the pick of the bunch with the overlapping Ryan Dee taking a pass from O’Connor on the left wing and evading three tacklers before touching down.

The conversion put OLs 30-8 up before Shipston scored a converted try on the stroke of full-time.

n Old Leamingtonians Ladies got back to winning ways thanks to a 19-7 success over Old Newtonians.

OLs struggled for rhythm in the first half and needed a try from outside-centre Shannon Lynch, converted by Dee Hardwick, to take them in at the break level.

However, they found another gear after the break and two quickfire tries from captain Jen Vermeulen, one converted, secured the victory.