Royals are still in the hunt after overcoming Ravens

Alex Mills-Baker makes another line break for Royals. Picture: Tim Nunan
Alex Mills-Baker makes another line break for Royals. Picture: Tim Nunan

Leamington Royals eased into the Grade One Midlands Grand Final on Saturday after overpowering North East Worcestershire Ravens 66-12.

Royals qualified for the semi-finals after finishing third in the Midland Premier League behind Northampton Demons and Coventry Dragons and were due to play Nottingham.

However, they withdrew from the competition and the next best team were Ravens who accepted the invitation to play at Acre Close.

Royals quickly showed their intent as full-back Alex Mills-Baker ran 80 metres before knocking on close to the line.

However, Leamington scored with their next drive, Simon Gardner sneaking through a gap at the ruck to go under the posts for a converted try.

Royals looked sharp after a good training session in the week and scored two more converted tries through half-back Matt Cooper and loose forward Andrew Morrison.

Ravens responded well and scored a converted try of their own before Mills-Baker and Cooper added to their tallies.

The second half kicked off with Royals again punching holes through the tiring Ravens defence which allowed Mills-Baker and Cooper to complete their hat-tricks, both converted by Tom Hyam.

Leamington prop Andre Martins was relentless, making great gains every time he had the ball and it was his line break combined with silky hands from fellow prop Ben Nuttall that put Gardner in for his second.

Second-row Ben Warman deservedly went over, breaking a tackle on the half-way line and outsprinting the full-back.

Further scores by Morrison and half-back Luke Dunne completed the victory.

The final, which will be Leamington’s fourth in seven years, takes place tomorrow at Sutton Coldfield Rugby Club, with Royals taking on last year’s final hosts Sherwood Wolf Hunt who overcame Telford Raiders in their semi-final.