Table Toppers Old Eds played host to a determined Leamington XV who were dangerous and competitive for the full 80 minutes. Nevertheless, the Eds pack powered by locks Ryan Singh and Jason Roberts, provided a stream of quality possession for the backs to capitalise on. At scrum time, Leamington’s ball was frequently on the back foot – hampering their attacking ambitions.
The Eds opened the scoring when No12 Matt Loveday’s long pass was well taken by No11 Luke Roberts who fended off the tackle to score. Good movement off the ball was a key factor: 5-0 after six minutes. Ten minutes later Leamington had a period of good ball retention and forced a penalty in the Eds’ 22 – driving over the line for a deserved score: 5-7.
The Eds’ back three were worked well together all match and engineered a kick-return to the Leamington 22. Shortly after a miss pass from No10 Ryan Southall set Outside Centre Craig Jones streaking through the visitor’s defensive line for a fine 50m try: 12-7. The Eds were sending players into contact with Hooker John Graham, Prop Dave McAdam, and No8 Ryan Hatch prominent. No1 Gareth Cartwright tidied loose line-out ball and, at the resulting ruck, 2 defenders took out No9 Brad Darlaston leaving Southall unmarked to score: 17-7. Another counterattack by the Eds saw No7 Phil King make ground and the forwards provide good ball out to the right wing for No14 Jake Holder’s inside pass for Jones’ second try: 22-7. A Leamington penalty was the final score of the half: 22-10.
The second half witnessed a useful debut from Centre Lewis Wrigley, coming on to the pitch with Lock Barrie Jones. Eds’ Full-Back Taine Young made a telling return shrugging off tired tackles, only for the move to die with a knock-on. Leamington responded with a good period of play – taking the ball deep into Eds’ territory. However, the Eds’ pack pushed a scrum metres to their own 10m line – and Jones was again set loose – this time scoring from 60m for his hat-trick: 29-10.
Wrigley featured in a move that took the ball into the Leamington 22. Brad Darlaston spotted a defensive lapse behind the maul and darted through to score under the posts: 36-10. Brad’s brother Jack was also having an impressive game – moving from centre to No6 for this match. Leamington responded well with their right-wing looking certain to score but denied by Hatch’s strong tackle. The Eds went back up field, No4 Ryan Singh directed line-out ball, from 5m out, to Graham who drove through to complete the Eds’ scoring for the day: 41-10. However, Leamington were far from finished and scored in the dying minutes when an expansive move to the left wing produced a fine try.
The Julie Hoey Shield for Man-of-the-Match was deservedly awarded to Craig Jones – followed by a liquid reward!
Final score: 41-17
Old Eds’ Scorers:
Tries: L Roberts, C Jones (3), R Southall, B Darlaston, J Graham
Conversions: B Darlaston (3)
Old Eds First Team: G Cartwright, J Graham, D McAdam, R Singh, J Roberts, J Darlaston, P King, R Hatch, B Darlaston, R Southall, L Roberts, M Loveday, C Jones, J Holder, T Young
Subs (All Used): B Jones, D Oldham, L Wrigley