RUGBY UNION: OLD Leamingtonians had to settle for a losing bonus point after conceding a late penalty that gave Rugby St Andrews a narrow 11-10 victory at Ashlawn Road in the Midlands 3 West (South), reports Den Fisher.
Saturday’s encounter took some time to get going as both sides made numerous errors and all too often the ball was either mis-passed or possession was kicked away.
There was very little action in the opening 20 minutes and the first score came with 22 minutes played when a long range penalty was converted by the home side but the score was soon levelled when OLs’ Tom Hyam converted a similar distance penalty for 3-3.
Continual disruptions in play led to frustrations in both teams and frictions developed particularly with incidents of over-zealous use of the boot in mauls by home side forwards resulting in more than one physical confrontation, one of which resulted in a yellow card for an OL player as a result of retaliation.
It was the home side that increased their lead next with an unconverted try wide out and half time was reached with the score favouring Rugby St Andrews 8-3.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first with neither side able to put together any decent pattern of play.
OLs fell back into habit of kicking the ball away too often and allowing themselves to become involved in the many fracas resulting from the home side’s forward aggression.
It was from one such incident that OLs scored an equalising try. Tom Heslop, who was then unceremoniously and illegally dumped to the ground, but as all players in the line out were waiting for the match official’s whistle, Tom Heslop regained his feet and darted through to touch down near to the posts. The try was allowed by the match official and converted to give OLs a two point advantage.
Another full scale fight erupted shortly afterwards as the game camped in the middle of the pitch and this resulted in two home players being sin binned.
Despite the advantage of two extra players the OLs were unable to break down the home defence and late in the game a penalty awarded to the home side was successfully converted to give a one point lead that remained until the end of the game.
OLs do not have a fixture this Saturday as the 6 Nations gets underway but they return to league action on February 11 when they face Shipston on Stour.