Following last week’s tough match with third placed Laurentian’s, Spa faced another difficult game, against fifth positioned, Silhillians. The size of their task increased even before the kick-off, when influential skipper, Nick
Maxwell, injured his arm in the pre-match warm up. Although he was able to start the game, his stay only lasted fifteen minutes. A quick reshuffle saw the introduction of rock, Terry Curran, at Prop with Danny Phillips
reverting to hooker.
Spa began the match with some high tempo attack play, involving strong running from Alex Sharman from the base of the scrum and plenty of invention from the back line. In one of these early forays, Alex Carroll
and Nathan Earland
exchanged quick passes, before the latter found wing, Richard Staff, with a delightful give inside, which almost opened up the home defence. Soon after, Spa created another top quality opening. This time Lock, Simon Harry
and Darren Fowler
punched a hole in the Sils defence and set the ball for Tom Daplyn
to have a run. The Centre’s clever break brought Carroll into play with a direct run up the wing only for him to see his superbly timed pass to Staff, adjudged forward.
The departure of Maxwell no doubt disrupted Spa’s continuity and some indiscipline allowed Sils to take the lead with penalty goal. The home side followed this up quickly with a fine try, crafted from distance and ending with sprint over the line.
Spa were then dealt another body blow when Darren Fowler
sustained a triple fracture to his lower leg and the game was held up for several minutes while this serious situation was dealt with.
This further disruption meant that Spa had now lost their early initiative and shortly before the break, Sils went over for another converted score.
Half Time: 17 – 0
Spa had to put in some early stout defending as the second half progressed. Simon Harry
and Craig Smith relentlessly fought back with some robust tackling as the Sils forwards aimed to capitalise on their good work from the first half. They were given excellent support from the Gareth Eastham
, Curran and Phillips in the Front Row, who dug deep to keep Spa in the game.
This determination was to pay a dividend in due course as Alex Sharman led a counter charge at the home defence that cut a path for Northover to exploit and ghost in for a fine Try. The young Scrum-Half then produced a magical kick from the flanks to bring Spa back into the game.
Spa tried to keep up the pressure and Carroll put in some searching line kicks, which Staff and Simon Dudley
tried to latch on to, with some unselfish chasing. Daplyn also kept the Sils defence on their toes with some clever running. Sils replied with some clever kicking tactics of their own and they clearly showed why they are up with the division’s top sides.
As the game entered the final quarter, Spa were continuing to press and forced Sils in to conceding a penalty, that was certainly within the range of Northover’s “golden boot”. However they opted for a line-out, near Sils line, which Simon Harry
claimed with the safest of hands. The Spa pack engineered a formidable drive, cleverly guided by Curran and Eastham and as the Try line beckoned, Sharman took the ball and crashed over. Once again Northover’s boot claimed the extras with a fine conversion from wide out.
This three point margin meant that Spa were in touching distance of another win, however Sils managed to ride out the storm and finished with a final, unconverted score in the final play.
Full Time: 22 – 14
Leamington return to league duty on the 28th January with home fixture against Upton-on-Severn, kick-off 2.15pm.