OLD LEAMINGTONIANS 22 PINLEY 24
A 40-strong volunteer force of Old Leamingtonians members and their families cleared the first-team pitch of snow and ice before the league game against Pinley, to provide what transpired to be the only Midlands Three West (South) game played on the day.
The pitch was in very good order when the match kicked off but it was Pinley who left in triumph following a benevolent display by the home side.
Pinley took the game to the home side from the outset and after only five minutes their pressure was rewarded when a clever kick-through caught OLs flat and allowed the visitors’ speedy centre to score beneath the posts.
The try was converted and the visitors stretched their lead shortly afterwards when a loose pass was intercepted to give Pinley a two-man overlap and try number two.
Fourteen points adrift after only ten minutes, OLs responded with a period of pressure that induced a series of infringements from the visitors.
It was no surprise, therefore, when a penalty try was awarded and the first of five yellow cards was issued to a Pinley player.
The try was converted by Angus Rose and OLs remained on the front foot.
Forward-led pressure saw the ball quickly fed from a rolling maul to back-row Liam Jones who ran around the Pinley defence to score his first try of the match, Rose again converting.
Buoyed by their response, the hosts continued to hold the upper hand, but they were unable to add to their tally and the teams went in at the interval locked at 14-14.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Pinley quickly out of the blocks and OLs defending a number of forages into their territory.
Another piece of loose play from Old Leamingtonians presented Pinley with their third try, an interception allowing the visiting player to run half the length of the pitch to touch down.
The conversion opened up a seven-point lead for the visitors, but once again OLs hit back with a period of pressure which had the Pinley defence creaking. Further yellow cards were issued to the transgressors, but a combination of slack play from OLs when in commanding positions coupled with repeated infringements by Pinley, meant the hosts’ only reward was a Rose penalty.
Eventually, however, the pressure did pay off and from a well-disciplined maul, Jones added his second try of the game.
The conversion attempt was missed from wide but, crucially, OLs held a one-point advantage going into the final quarter.
Pinley’s forwards began to assert themselves in the closing stages and the visitors were awarded two penalties.
The first missed but the second penalty was converted to put Pinley back in front.
OLs responded well but despite a valiant last few minutes, the home side were unable to bridge the two-point gap.
n Old Leamingtonians put in a much-improved performance against Nuneaton despite bowing out in the semi-final of the Warwickshire 2nd XV Cup.
Nuneaton had put 90 points past the visitors last time the two teams met at second-team level and looked on course for something at the break as they led 30-0.
However, the gallant OLs did not let their heads drop and outscored their hosts 7-5 after the break, with replacement Matt McIntyre scoring their try, converted by Trevor Davies.