RUGBY UNION: THE NEW year started on a positive note for Old Leamingtonians as they returned to winning ways in the Midlands 3 West (South) thanks to a 26-19 victory away at Woodrush, reports Den Fisher.
Four consecutive defeats before the festive break was disappointing end to the first half of the season for OLs, but on a muddy at Icknield Street the visitors put in a performance full of hard work and effort to come away with a deserved victory.
From the kick off it was apparent that the Woodrush game plan was to intimidate the OLs with a much heavier set of forwards and for the first ten minutes of the game, the visitors were put under considerable pressure but defensively held out.
After ten minutes of play a penalty awarded to OLs just inside the Woodrush half was successfully converted by captain and stand in scrum half, Bradley James.
This lead lasted ten more minutes when Woodrush from a line-out, the throw was caught and the lighter OLs defence were bundled over the goal line for the first of their two first half tries, with this one being converted.
Further pressure during the next phase of the game saw Woodrush score a second try following a rare move with their three-quarters to see the left wing cross the line wide out for an unconverted try and 12-3 lead after 25 minutes.
The visitors were pushed back from the kick off but from an intercepted ball inside his own half Bradley James broke and kicked a long ball deep into speace which he gathered and dived in to score fine try.
Woodrush continued to show indiscipline that saw them concede more penalties, two of which were converted by James to see OLs take a 14-12 lead into half-time.
The second half followed a similar game pattern to the first but a lack of success frustrated the Woodrush players and many penalties were conceded allowing Bradley James to convert a further four to take OLs into a 26-12 lead.
With ten minutes remaining the game erupted into a free-for-all which resulted in a player from each side being red carded, with OLs hooker Reece Jones leaving the field.
When the game resumed the heavier Woodrush forwards pinned OLs back inside their own half for long periods but again the outstanding visiting defence prevented their opponents from scoring.
Rushworth did managed to scored a converted try right on the final whistle to gain a valuable bonus point but that proved to be the final action of the match.
The win sees OLs remain sixth in the league and they now prepare for a home match against Nuneaton Old Edwardians in the Warwickshire Cup.