Eds 23 - 21 Leamington
Eds hold on to beat Leamington.
Eds hold on to Beat Leamington 23-21
Old Ed’s first League outing of the season saw them hosting Leamington. Proudly accompanied by young Academy players the Eds were greeted by wet and windy conditions that made handling very difficult for both sides.
Eds went into an early lead when Leamington were penalised for not rolling away. Scrum-half Tom Short kicked the Eds into a 3-0 lead. The scores were evened on the eighth minute for an Eds’ high tackle – Leamington’s No12 kicking from over 40m. Various mishandlings and offences prevented the Eds from getting into their stride and getting their midfield into the game. Leamington kicked 2 more 40m penalties: 9-3 at the mid-point of the period.
A diagonal kick from Eds No10 Brad Darlaston caused difficulties for Leamington resulting in an Eds’ penalty kick for holding on: 6-9. From the restart Leamington failed to deal with Short’s high kick and Brad Darlaston’s kick forward put him and Eds’ right-wing Duncan Parkinson ahead of the defence only for Parkinson’s kick forward to roll over the dead-ball line when a try had seemed certain.
Eds exerted some control for last ten minutes of the half holding the visitors in their 22. When Leamington did break out and were awarded a scrum, it was driven back, and Short’s his kick forward forced a line-out for the Eds. Lock Zak Cooper, having a good day in the line-out, caught No2 George Parker’s accurate throw to initiate a drive for the line. Prop Adam Wilson and Flanker Brandon Carter worked the ball well and Parker and No1 Sean Haberfield drove to within a metre of the try-line. The resulting scrum saw Short move behind to the right only to cleverly switch left as he gathered the ball – leaving his opposite number stranded – and score: 11-9 at half-time.
Early in the second period winger Luke Roberts caught an awkward high ball to foil a Leamington attack. No7 Jack Darlaston broke away from a scrum 15m out and recycled good ball for the Eds’ forwards to advance to the try-line. Haberfield went over only to be correctly judged to be held up. The Eds’ won a 5m shortened line-out only to be penalised when the remaining forwards joined too early. Within minutes good backs’ play from Leamington took them to within 10m of the Eds’ line Eds’ worked their way clear and won a Leamington line-out thanks to Carter’s tap back. A charging Wilson dumped his opposite number as the Eds’ battled against determined Leamington defence.
From a maul on the half-way line Short found Parkinson at first receiver, who ran through 3 defenders and a further 2 would-be tacklers. He rode the final tackle well and showed great awareness to ground the ball. Short added the extras: 18-9. Leamington fought back into the Eds’ 22. Lock Ryan Singh disrupted a Leamington line-out but the visitors edged close to the Eds’ line. Maintaining continuity for nine phases the Leamington forwards released the ball to midfield where an off-load put the winger over to score: 18:14. As the Leamington kicker was about to kick for goal the ball fell off the tee. To his great credit he calmly picked it up and dropped for goal despite the advancing Eds’ charge: 18-16.
Another good Roberts’ catch was fed for No8 Ryan Hatch to make 30m out of the Eds’ 22. From a maul on the half-way line Short found Right-Wing Duncan Parkinson at first receiver, who ran through 3 defenders and a further 2 would-be tacklers. He rode the final tackle well and showed great awareness to ground the ball: 18-9. Leamington fought back into the Eds’ 22. After nine phases the forwards released the ball to midfield where an off-load put the winger over to score: 18:16.
The forwards’ battle resumed. Another good Luke Roberts’ catch was fed for No8 Ryan Hatch to make 30m out of the Eds’ 22. Sam Southall’s tapped penalty kept the momentum going. A poor pass to the feet of the Leamington No10 allowed Brad Darlington to pounce and show off his footballing skills and fend off the close attentions of a defender to dribble the ball over the line and score from 25m: 23-16 with 2 minutes to go – surely the Eds would win!
Leamington were having none of it as a short pass in midfield sprang their No13 free to make ground and spin a perfect pass for his centre colleague to score near to the posts in the last play of the match: 23-21. Surely Leamington’s proven kicker would level the match. But No! To the amazement of all his effort went wide, maybe owing to the Eds kick-charge.
A close match as both sides struggled to achieve their game plans and processes. They will both have improved for the return fixture later in the season. The set-piece was promising for the Eds with all their lines and scrums going ‘with the head’. They also made the opposition set-pieces difficult for them.
Next week the Eds are at home to Southam - 3:00 KO.
Old Eds First Team: S Haberfield, G Parker, B Jones, R Singh, Z Cooper, B Carter, J Darlaston, R Hatch, B Darlaston, T Short, L Roberts, C Jones, E Allard, D Parkinson, S Southall
Subs: M Collins, J Holder, A Wilson