Old Eds 35 Leamington 22
There’s no Place like Home for the Eds
A fine autumn day saw much activity at Weddington Road with the Old Eds’ Academy on show to a packed Clubhouse prior to the 3:00pm kick-off. Visitors Leamington arrived looking for a first win of the season. Eds’ support of ball-carriers was a feature of their play and led to most of their tries.
Eds started well with a line-out catch and drive taking them 25 metres forward, Leamington conceded a penalty for a high tackle - converted by scrum-half Brad Darleston: 3-0 after 5 minutes. A Leamington line-out was taken by lock Ryan Singh providing the platform to launch runs by No6 Tom Hill and prop Adam Wilson. A perfectly weighted chip over the Leamington defensive line from Ashley Kalnins was well caught by fellow centre Dan Elkerton as he set up a ruck in the Leamington 22. Hooker George Parker and Singh both came close as the try-line beckoned but the Leamington defence held firm, and a penalty allowed the clearance to touch. From a scrum, Tom Hill put No15 Sam Southall into space and, receiving a return pass from left-wing Tay Brown, he made a 50m gain from the move but was adjudged to have held on after a tackle. Soon after Wilson again battered his way forward to put the Eds on the front foot, and close enough for a second successful Darleston penalty: 6-0 after 20 minutes.
Within two minutes of the restart Brown collected another well-weighted kick, this time from scrum-half Scott Pittam. Kalnins was in support but tackled off the ball whilst Brown shrugged off three tackles and found Elkerton in space for a 40m crossfield sprint to score on the right: 11-0 after 22 minutes. Jack Darlaston came on for injured Brandon Carter and was to contribute several vital line-out catches. Sean Haberfield came replaced Wilson in the front row and was his usual lively self in the loses. A Leamington scrum infringement resulted in a quickly taken penalty by Hill who made good ground before feeding Pittam - fine support play again resulting in a try - improved by Darlaston: 18-0 and a fair reflection of the match so far.
Anyone who has played against Leamington will know that they are no pushover, and their fighting spirit came to the fore as they took their line-out close to the Eds line and caught and drove over: 18-5. This was soon followed by another catch, this time on their left touch-line, and a well-organised drive for the try: 18-10, after thirty-two minutes, and Leamington were back in the match.
Eds attacked over several phases but Leamington defended stoutly and their down-field kick was fielded by Southall who was subsequently penalised and yellow-carded for holding on to the ball when tackled. Further Leamington pressure saw Singh also yellow-carded and Leamington scoring another try: 18-15 at half-time.
Early in the second half Southall returned to replace Pittam at No9 as Jake Holder came on at fullback. Leamington managed to get good ball to their right-wing only to be ushered into touch by Brown and No2 George Parker. Eds’ No5 Paul Levin burst out from the back of a maul and proceeded to single-handedly invade Leamington territory with a glorious cross-field run beating off several defenders and gaining 50 meters before and unloading to right winger Duncan Parkinson only for the pass to be adjudged as forwards. An Eds’ scrum on half-way then set the backs in motion on with good first-phase ball with quick passing out to Brown who ran through his opposite number only to be tackled into touch just before the try-line. A few minutes later the ever-alert Southall took a tap penalty and was tackled by the Leamington No7 after 3 metres – the yellow card was in action again and Darlaston’s penalty kick took the score to 21-15 after sixteen minutes of the second period.
Leamington were looking to run the ball at every opportunity. A loose ball min mid-field was gathered by Eds’ No8 Brandon Carter, who made a sympathetic pass to Brown who was in determined mood. Beating six tackles in his 50m run he rewarded Holder’s fine supporting run with an offload to take the score to 28-15 halfway through the second period.
Carter featured again, returning the restart with interest and the move carried on to Singh and Wilson before moving it to Brown who advanced to Leamington’s 22m line. A second high-tackle by Leamington’s No10 earned him a ten- minute rest on the sideline. On the thirty-minute mark, a period of good Leamington continuity saw a sweeping move for a fine try in the left-hand corner: 28-22. Though behind, Leamington held a 4-try bonus point and the prospect of further spoils. They continued their policy of keeping ball in hand only for Eds skipper Phil King to rip turnover ball and then win a penalty which encamped the Eds in the Leamington 22 where they, in turn, were penalised for crossing. Sensing a final opportunity to take the match, Leamington ran the ball downfield, only for Kalnins to force a handling error and take full advantage by beating 3 tackles to flip the ball to Brad Darlaston in support for the try. Final score: 35-22.
Old Eds First Team: A. Wilson, G Parker, D McAdam, R Singh, P Levin, T Hill, P King (Captain), B Carter, S Pittam, B Darlaston, T Brown, A Kalnins, D Elkerton, D Parkinson, S Southall. Subs: J Darlaston, S Haberfield, J Holder