Old Leamingtonians RFC 1st XV 22 - 18 Dunlop RFC 1st XV
OLs move into 3rd place
Old Leamingtonians recorded their fourth win in a row to move into third place in the Midlands 3 West (South) League with a narrow victory over Dunlop who were second in the table before the start of the game.
On a murky wet and dismal afternoon the game kicked off with OLs taking play to Dunlop and keeping the game inside the visitor’s half of the field, hardly allowing them any possession and the pressure paid off after 15 minutes when the home side won a penalty inside the Dunlop half that full back Bradley James converted. The lead was short lived however when an OLs infringement just inside their own half provided the visitors with a long range penalty conversion to level the scores at 3 - 3.
OLs continued to pressure Dunlop and with the home forwards gaining ascendancy the game was forced back into the Dunlop 22 metre area. On 25 minutes a turn over ball saw the OLs backs freed up quickly resulting in centres Dave Canning and Simon Hemming interchanging passes for Hemming to dive over for the first of OLs tries wide out on the left side of the field. Bradley James kicked an excellent conversion to move OLs into a seven point lead at 10 - 3.
Dunlop bounced back into the game but the OLs defence held firm until the 39th minute when the Dunlop pressure paid off with an unconverted try on the stroke of half time. The teams went into the break at 10 – 8.
The second half kicked off with OLs having a slender two point lead which was quickly wiped out when OLs conceded a penalty in front of the posts inside their 22 that Dunlop converted giving them the lead at 10 - 11.
This spurred OLs into a higher gear and play was driven back into the Dunlop half of the field and with the OLs forwards having the better of the Dunlop forwards the game was camped inside the opposition 22 metre area. Following a number of forward drives, second row John Carlos drove over for OLs try number two. This went unconverted but put OLs back in front at 15 - 11.
The game continued with a passage of play in the centre of the field with both defences holding out and preventing any good scoring opportunities until following a good forward drive by OLs the ball was won just inside the Dunlop half and quickly passed out along the three-quarters to winger Liam Wellings. Taking the ball just inside the Dunlop half he outstripped the retreating Dunlop cover defence and finished off the move by hurdling the visiting fullback to touch down for a superbly taken try. This try was converted by Bradley James to move OLs into an 11 point lead going into the final 10 minutes of the game. Score at this point was 22 – 11.
Dunlop came back strongly and again took the game to OLs but the home defence held good with some decisive tackling. Unfortunately that defence was eventually breached for a converted Dunlop try five minutes from time and it was left to good solid defence play to enable OLs to end the game with a four point win at 22 - 18 . Dunlop had to settle for a losing bonus point.
This win moved OLs into 3rd place in the league, 3 point behind leaders Shipston RFC. OLs are away on 9th December at Ledbury RFC – kick off 2.15pm.
Report provided by Denis Fisher
Photos by Tim Nunan: 1. 2.
Updated 08:06 - 19 Dec 2017 by Chris McCarthy
OLRFC Press & Publicity Officer