Leamington returned to league rugby, after last week’s nail biting win over Newbold in the Warwickshire Cup and faced a fit, well drilled Upton squad whose performance belied there low position in the merit table.
The “Moorefield Men” started in high tempo and hit Upton with a succession of attacks. The Pack had the benefit of skipper, Nick
Maxwell, back in the frame and he led his forwards in a continuous onslaught on the visitor’s 22 metre area. He was given solid support from Props, Terry Curran and Danny Phillips
as they used the rolling maul to good effect to try to pierce the stubborn, Upton, defence. Several good chances to score were provided before Spa finally got on the score sheet. Nathan Earland
began a run, deep in his own half, which cut through the Upton defenders. He moved towards the flank and slipped a crisp pass to Alex Carroll
who forced his way over the try line.
This score spurred Spa on to keep up the pressure on Upton. As the game progressed, the Back Row of Mike Kelly
, Keiran Martin and Danny Ruyssevelt
were creating plenty of openings, through direct running, to give the back line good possession. However despite some quality handling and invention, Spa were finding it difficult to break through and add more points.
In one of their numerous attacks, at this stage, a flat pass from Spa was intercepted by Upton, in their own 22 metre area, and they raced up field to score under the posts. With 25 minutes on the clock, this was their first incursion into Spa half of the pitch and the conversion meant they had taken a two point lead.
“Patch” Northover brought some relief with a well judged penalty goal to restore the lead for Spa and once again the home side applied more pressure to the under fire, Upton defenders. Big Prop, Terry Curran, was availing himself for the crash ball from the many mauls that Spa were setting up and with Simon Harry
and Craig Smith dominating the line-outs, Leamington were flying high.
Just before the break, Northover’s trusty boot slotted over another penalty for Spa.
Half Time: 11 – 7
The score-line did little to indicate the territorial advantage that Spa had achieved in the first period and it was no surprise to the home support when Spa increased their lead. The relentless pressure that Spa had subjected the visitors to was beginning to cause cracks to appear in the stubborn, Upton, defence and penalties began to be conceded. In one of these instances, Northover caught the Upton defence cold as he quickly fed the ball to Carroll who raced through and whipped out a pass to Tarquin Snell
who took no time to scamper over. Northover added the extras.
With Spa now in the van, they increased their lead through some enterprising play. Adam Preece
had made an incisive break up the left flank and was just held up, short of the try line. Spa held on to possession and powered there way across the pitch, towards the posts. Upton managed to hold the attack up, however as Carroll claimed the ball, he fizzed out a slick pass to Tom Daplyn
and the Centre crashed over.
In the dying seconds of the game and in a rare lapse, Spa failed to clear their line and allowed Upton a converted score.
Full Time: 23 – 14
Next week Spa continue league duty with a trip to table topping, Barkers Butts, kick-off 2.15pm.