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Wednesday 12 December 2012 Updated: 12/12 18:07
Old Leamingtonians 27 Old Coventrians 17
BUBBLING OLs signalled their title ambitions by moving joint top of Midlands Three West (South) after getting the better of the previously unbeaten leaders at The Crofts on Saturday.
The table-topping clash lived up to all expectations with both teams playing expansive rugby, while both sets of forwards were well drilled and highly competitive.
OLs dominated the opening exchanges during which the visitors were penned deep inside their own half.
Old Coventrians came undfer increasiung pressure but they held firm for 20 minutes when strong mauling and quick handling led to scrum-half Toby Lord crossing for the first try which was superbly converted from the touchline by Angus Rose.
The visitors responded but their free-scoring threequarters struggled to make an impression in the face of some tigerish tackling by the OLs backs.
OLs doubled their advantage through Rose who chased after his intelligent kick and beat the retreating visitors defence to touch down.
The leaders enjoyed a good spell of pressure which was eventually rewarded with an unconverted try following a strong forward rolling maul.
But OLs remained on top and Rose slotted over a penalty when a forward surge was unfairly halted on the stroke of half time.
The visitors, eager to extend their unbeaten record, piled on the pressure in the second half and their strong running prop reduced the arrears to just five points by going over for an unconverted try.
It stung OLs into action and their fast running backs ran the visitors ragged.
With the OLs forwards more than matching their heavier counterparts, a penalty kicked by Rose struck the crossbar.
Quick thinking replacement scrum-half Mark Foley caught the rebound and was stopped just short of the line but the ball was well won from the ensuing ruck, freed up and quickly passed along the line for Simon Hemming to break the Old Covent’s defence and touch down a try which Rose converted.
Another well worked try followed when winger Dave Canning received the ball on the overlap and crossed to secure the well earned bonus point.
The visitors set up a thrilling finish with another forward surge leading to a converted try but OLs deservedly ran out winners but remain second in the table on points difference.
OLs, who visit Woodrush this Saturday, have been drawn away at Rushden & Higham in the RFU Senior Vase regional semi-final on Saturday, January 19.
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