Leamington fall agonisingly short of a shock victory over high-flying Sils
Leamington gave second-in-the-table Silhillians a fright in an enthralling match, with Tom Jewitt's last-gasp penalty attempt falling inches short to deny the hosts a notable scalp.
Sils knew they were in for a torrid afternoon from the outset when Leamington pushed them deep into their 22 from the start.
As Leamington continued to press, they won a scrum and skipper Craig Smith picked up at the base and cut inside. Prop Scott Peters surged towards the visitors’ posts and then allowed the ball to be fed to his back line. With the Sils defence set up, Garrett Bell raced in from the blind-side wing, took possession and crashed through to score a superbly engineered try. Jewitt just failed with the conversion attempt from wide out.
The anticipated response, while energetic, was quickly and effectively defended by Leamington. The visitors spurned the opportunity of a simple penalty goal to try and take advantage of possession from a lineout but despite setting up a rolling maul, the Leamington defence held firm.
Silhillians took advantage of a penalty to finally get on the scoresheet but their joy was short-lived as once again the Leamington attack caught them cold.
Having forced their way into a prominent position, Jewitt sent through a delightful kick for centre Danny Ruyssevelt to gather and race over to score. Jewitt added the extras and once again Leamington were in the driving seat.
However, towards the end of the half, Sils got themselves back in to contention with a penalty and an unconverted try to close the gap to a single point at the break.
Leamington began the second half on the front foot, with Smith claiming lineout ball and allowing Ed Thompson and Scott Peters to put Sils’ defence under scrutiny.
The visitors took this in their stride, though, and finally began to impose themselves on the match.
Leamington put up a strong and defiant wall, but Sils did manage a penalty to take the lead for the first time.
Sils almost paid the price for failing to add to their points tally in this period as once again Leamington hit back with some quality football.
Having withstood a pummelling from the visitors, Leamington began to edge out of defence and finally put their visitors under some pressure.
This ultimately earned them a penalty, which Jewitt nudged upfield into the corner of the pitch. Leamington’s driving mauls from these positions has been a real highlight this season and it worked to perfection once again with their pack pushing the Sils forwards backwards at a rate of knots, allowing Danny Phillips to get the final touchdown.
The only blemish in a fine all-round performance had been the number of penalties conceded and this was to ultimately haunt the home side as they once again fell foul of the referee’s whistle to give Sils the opportunity to kick themselves ahead again.
As the game drew to a close, Leamington had one final throw of the dice via a long-range Jewitt penalty attempt, but it fell agonisingly short of the mark.