Wolverhampton loss is good for Spa’s development

Leamington hooker Nick Maxwell on the attack at Wolverhampton. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
Leamington hooker Nick Maxwell on the attack at Wolverhampton. Picture: Gina Ruyssevelt
  • Intermediate Cup
  • Wolverhampton 34 Leamington 7

Leamington blooded some of their development squad in the opening round of the cup and will have been pleased to see positive performances from Seean Mahon and Josh Jones despite the defeat.

The influential Tom Daplyn was back in the fold for the visitors and his mesemeric run from his own 22 laid the platform for the opening score just two minutes in, prop Dan Barber bulldozing his way to the line for a try under the posts converted by Patrick Northover.

The home side, boasting a big, mobile pack, responded with some clever pick and drives which created an opening for their back line to exploit for a converted equalising score.

From the restart, the hosts won a penalty and moved the ball down the wing at pace for a quickfire second try, this time unconverted.

As the half progressed, Wolverhampton’s attack gained momentum and they added two further tries, one converted, for a 24 -7 interval lead.

The hosts were making the most of their opportunities and extended their advantage to 24 points after the break following a lineout and drive.

The visitors had lost centre Ross Waterhouse in the opening 40 minutes, forcing a reshuffle which saw Jones take his place on the right wing and the youngster was now seeing more of the ball.

In one attack, he side-stepped his way through the home defence before being held up just short of the line.

Soon after, he nearly latched on to Daplyn’s looping pass with the try line beckoning.

He was then called upon for defensive duties and came to his side’s rescue, back-tracking at pace to help Northover stop a forceful home attack.

Although the home side held a commanding lead, they were never truly comfortable, with the Spa pack of Barber, Mark Warrilow and Nick Maxwell untroubled in the set and this was illustrated when they opted to kick for goal after winning a penalty rather than going for a kick to the corner and lineout drive.