Olney progress in the cup after finally shaking off a spirited Leamington side

Kenny Kwok races away to score Leamington's opening try against Olney.
Kenny Kwok races away to score Leamington's opening try against Olney.
  • Intermediate Cup
  • Leamington 15 Olney 38

Leamington fielded another much-changed side, but nevertheless put in an improved performance against their Midlands 2 East (South) visitors.

Leamington started on the front foot with a darting run from Gareth Shuttleworth, which his backline gave full support to, putting early pressure on the visitors.

The tables were quickly turned and it took some swift tackles from Shuttleworth and Sam Nunn to stop the Olney attack.

Full-back Kenny Kwok was then forced in to a head-on challenge with an Olney attacker to keep his line intact.

A break out by Leamington’s Mark Symonds was the only respite before the Olney attack returned, this time claiming a converted score with 16 minutes on the clock.

Leamington responded with an attack up the nearside flank. Sam Nunn sent a delightful ball up the wing that Ryan Byrne, making a very welcome return, latched on to. The quick-thinking winger made the ball available to John Raby, who in turn, found Kenny Kwok with a neat pass. From some distance, Kwok raced away from the Olney defence and dived over for a well-worked score.

Nunn was just off target with the conversion attempt.

The balance of play once again shifted in favour of the visitors and while Shuttleworth pulled off a superb try-saving tackle, Olney continued to advance and increased their lead with a further try.

As the half entered its final quarter, Leamington brushed aside the power of the Olney forwards and once again set about a series of probing attacks of their own. They camped out in the corner of the Olney 22 and after being awarded a penalty, Shuttleworth took control to force his way towards the try line. Despite being held up, his forwards were in full support and the ball was eventually gathered by Byrne who crashed over in the corner.

Now only two points adrift, Leamington finished the half in high tempo. A break by centre John Raby and an exchange of passes with Kwok and Byrne nearly opened up the Olney defence, while on the opposite wing, Nunn almost set winger Dave Cotton away with a well-directed chip upfield.

The situation got even better after the interval when Simon Magill punched a huge hole in the Olney defence with a powerful run, allowing Raby the chance to take possession and force his way over for an unconverted score.

Not surprisingly, following the pattern of play, Olney responded with some incisive attacking.

The home defence had been in good form all afternoon, with some robust tackling from Nathan Batchelor catching the eye on several occasions.

However, such was the constant barrage from the visitors’ attack, cracks did become visible and the lead was regained, courtesy of a converted score.

Three more tries followed for the visitors, although Leamington continued to focus on playing attacking rugby and in one sparkling piece of play, Byrne continued to pose problems with a neat steal, which almost opened the way for Kwok to capitalise on.

And while the scoreline did reflect the Olney possession, it should not deflect away from the impressive manner in which the home side approached the game.