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Carolians slip to narrow defeat at Old Leamingtonians
11:41am Monday 14th October 2013 in Sport
Old Leamingtonians 29 Kidderminster Carolians 26
THIS game which, it has to be said, was contentiously refereed was so tight that there were never more than five points between the teams with both sides scoring four tries and the lead changing hands eight times and a neutral observer would probably have considered a draw to be a fair result.
KC’s totally bossed the first fifteen minutes but were let down by handling errors and were denied an Eddie Ross “try” when they opted to run a penalty under OL’s posts but were adjudged to have knocked on before the winger touched down.They eventually did take a fully deserved lead when skipper Rob Delahay came up with the ball from a forwards rumble but from the restart the hosts established field position for the first time and after five minutes of sustained possession they landed a penalty from the 22 metre line to reduce the arrears to 5-3.
Five minutes later KC’s were somewhat harshly penalised for a late tackle and OLs kicked to touch.From the lineout they drove over and the conversion just had enough legs to nudge them ahead 10-5.Kidder responded by putting together some good phases after winning lineout ball thirty metres out and a lovely short pass by flyhalf George Morgan sent in centre Rhys Pritchard for a try under the posts,converted by the No 10 for a 12-10 lead.
KC’s continued to dominate territory and won turnover ball on OL’s ten metre line from which Morgan made a fine break but the move broke down when the ball spilled from Alex Baldwin’s fingertips with a try on the cards.Immediately afterwards scrumhalf Chris Pinner went down the narrow side when KC’s won lineout ball twenty metres out and left wing Ross cut back inside to link up with the forwards but hooker Tom Maher was tackled into touch at the corner flag. KCs then won a scrum against the head on the hosts’ five-metre line but knocked on and another chance went begging.Under constant pressure,OL’s defended doggedly and got their reward when they at last managed to get back into KCs 22. At a scrum fifteen metres from Kidder’s tryline they were awarded a free kick and then a penalty which they kicked to touch and from the lineout they drove over to give them a 15-12 lead at the end of a half which had mysteriously lasted forty seven minutes even though neither physio had been on the pitch.It was also curious that although KC’s had enjoyed probably 80 per cent possession and territory they had conceded eleven penalties and had only been awarded four themselves – they were clearly going to have to be careful in the second half.
As it happened, only three minutes after the resumption KC’s won a penalty in OL’s 22 and the quick thinking Pinner tapped the ball to himself and before the hosts could react to the danger he darted over for a try which Morgan improved to put Kidder back ahead 19-15.The influence of the backs then began to wane and the game increasingly became an arm wrestle between the two very evenly matched sets of forwards.KCs were forced to defend their line for a good ten minutes and although they repelled a wave of attacks the hosts’ tighthead prop finally broke their resistance to power over for a score which gave the home side a single point advantage, 20-19, which the conversion extended to 22-19.
With twenty five minutes played KC’s got their noses back in front when Ross set up a ruck from a fifteen metre lineout and Layton Wilkinson crashed over for the all important fourth try which Morgan converted for a 26-22 lead but three minutes later Kidder were,almost inevitably, reduced to fourteen men when second row Jack Tunstall was yellow carded for pulling down a maul.The penalty was kicked to touch but KC’s stole the lineout and when Wilkinson won turnover ball they had a chance to clear their lines but the ball went out on the full.KC’s again won OLs throw and it looked like they might hang on but at another defensive lineout an attempted clearance kick was charged down and the hosts won a five metre scrum at which Kidder were penalised.It appeared that OLs may have opted for another scrum as KCs seemed to be preparing themselves for a set piece but for whatever reason they were caught napping when the home side’s tight head suddenly bulldozed over for the vital winning try, duly converted, and this time there was no way back as OLs closed out the match.
KC’s had to settle for the consolation of two well merited bonus points and perhaps did not do quite enough to take all five.They should really have put more points on the board when they were well on top in the first half and OLs did finish the stronger, albeit with a man advantage at a crucial stage of the game, and with the odds stacked against them for most of the afternoon Kidder could take great credit for never letting their heads drop.
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