Leamington’s disappointing set of results continued with a defeat at fellow strugglers Nuneaton Old Edwardians which leaves them just two points above second-bottom Barkers’ Butts with one match remaining.
The loss and Old Eds’ subsequent try bonus point leaves Leamington needing a positive result at home to Pinley in their final game of the campaign to stave off relegation.
It could have been so different had Leamington made the most of a string of chances, particularly in the first half.
After soaking up some early pressure, which saw both Toby Bruce and Lewis Kelsey put in some robust tackles for Leamington, Tom Jewitt got in a solid clearance kick to alleviate the danger.
Leamington then produced their first piece of enterprise when Craig Smith broke from his 22 and set Scott Peters away. A bulldozing run from the young prop resulted in the ball being retained, allowing scrum-half Patrick Northover to put in a neat chip ahead which fell into the grateful arms of Connor Chamberlain. However, the referee adjudged the Leamington winger to have been in front of the ball when it was kicked and the chance went begging.
Another opening fell to Leamington soon after when Smith took clean ball in the lineout, allowing Northover to link up with Kelsey who raced up the wing before finally being halted by the Nuns defence.
The balance of the game changed, however, when the Nuneaton created some gaps in the Leamington defence to score two converted tries in a ten-minute spell.
Leamington responded with a strong drive by the pack putting them in a good position inside the Nuneaton 22. With the home defence struggling to cope with this thrust, they had to commit numbers to halt the momentum which created a four-man overlap for Leamington. However, poor handling saw this gold-plated chance go begging and this profligacy was to eventually prove costly.
With the half drawing to a close, the home side increased their lead with another try. They sent out a clearance kick which Leamington winger Jamie Anderson fielded and set about a counter-attack. However, as he was about to release the ball inside to his support, he was tackled and possession was lost. The hosts were quickly on the scent and their support play created the space required for a score in the corner and a 19-0 interval lead.
The first score after the restart looked crucial and it was therefore a blow to Leamington to concede it in the opening minutes of the second period.
A 24-point deficit in such a crucial match was always going to be tough to come back from and while Leamington continued to compete in all quarters, with their pack more than able to cope with the big Nuneaton forwards and Smith and Kelsey putting the hosts under constant pressure, they were unable to breakdown the stubborn Nuns defence.
A final converted score was the icing on the cake for the home side, who climbed above their victims on points difference.