Earlsdon 25 - 10 Southam
By Mike Haville
Southam hoped to build on the two wins either side of Xmas, but could not succeed, as they lost cohesion in the match after key players were injured.
Southam had to rejig due to the unavailability of key players captain Will Grindal and pack leader Sam Deeming, but they had a positive start, sucking up Earlsdons initial attack and were unlucky to get penalised for a high tackle in front of the posts.
No8 Richard LLoyd Jones was prominent in defence and 10 minutes in he broke through in attack on the halfway and got up to the Earlsdon 22, forcing a penalty for not rolling away, narrowly missed by wing Josh Tolley. LLoyd Jones went off injured with a broken nose and soon after Earlsdon made their way up the pitch through some soft / missed tackles, got to the line and on a penalty, spread it wide for the wing to stroll over for the try. Influential centre Pete Burnell was injured and Southam had to rejig again as Tom Bird came on in the forwards and wing forward Joe Bagshaw, moved out into the backs. Southam got back into the game and from a scrum on the Earlsdon 22, centre Tom Grimes broke through the line and was stopped 5m out, full back Will Clarke broke blind to be stopped on the line, the ball was recycled towards the posts, with forward drives and eventually prop Charlie Gilkes got over for the try, converted by Tolley.
As the half finished Southam kicked for touch from a penalty deep into the Earlsdon 22 and off the top the ball was moved across the pitch before scrum half Tom Boag broke through to be held up on the line. Southam forced a penalty from the resulting scrum and Tolley converted to give Southam the lead at halftime
HT 8 - 10
In the second half Southam were off the pace and let Earlsdon get on the front foot and even though captain Harry Hewson tried to lead by example with numerous tackles, Earlsdon saw that Southam were not closing them down and started making 5 to 10m off every collision. Early in the half the Earlsdon 2nd row was red carded for a punch, but being down to 14 men seem to make the home team more determined and Southam's lack of control at base of the scrum, put on more pressure and a loose scrum ball 10m from Southam line was collected by the Earlsdon scrum half for the try. Southam continued to miss tackles and Earlsdon got the next try with continuous possesion from the halfway, running hard and recycling back to the blind for the converted try. Earlsdon finished off with and break down the wing into the Southam 22 and from a scrum they went down the blind twice and got their fourth try.
It was a tough day for Southam and they struggled without there senior players and even though the likes of Bostock and Hewson put in notable shifts it is hard to gel a team without those core players.
MOTM Harry Hewson