Mud packs at the Spa
By Ian Walker
Thaw and rain gives the club laundry some work
Leamington 0 - Banbury 50
Following another cancelled fixture last week (no 5 for the season) but due to the weather this time, Banbury’s took 20 players on the short trip up the M40 to Leamington Spa. With a good contingent of Warwick players, a solid performance was expected from the hosts (and also seemed a home game for one Banbury boy – taking on a numbers of his regular team mates).
Playing four quarters, the Leamington referee signalled kick off and Banbury started a strong period and scoring five tries and taking control of territory and possession.
Banbury's pressure saw Callum (starting at Full Back)receive the clearance kick on the full in midfield. A fade right, followed by adirect line took him unopposed through to the Leamington line for the first try. A further four, saw the quarter close out at 0-25 and Banbury looked comfortable.
Q2 was more evenly contested, with Leamington getting their forwards at work and quickly looking to use space. With Banbury opting to keep ball alive, a number of ill-considered offloads and poor passes allowed Leamington to assert pressure. Rather than control the ball, Banbury invited the Leamington’s defensive to go forward and muddiness came to the fore (in thought and shirt colour). With dynamism gifted to the hosts, an outside-man 2 on 1 from Leamington saw a scrambling Banbury defence work through a great set of phases through their 22 onto the try line and a massive commitment in the ruck. With the ball won, Banbury’s exit kick didn’t clear touch and Leamington remained on the attack but Banbury closed out a five minute defensive spell when a Leamington player went off feet at the ruck. The resultant free kick seeing the ball move wide to Talan who cleared the line with a 60 metre break, where a great individual Leamington chase back tackle finished play.
Q3 saw Banbury reassert some structure and reading of the game, with two change of direction directly providing tries – two to big crowd cheers for Perky (power, pace and skill) and George J using his pace to touchdown in the corner.
Q4 finished following a series of infringements as Banbury went right to left and back inside, with Riven driving through three players to score.
With Wednesday night training including some ‘magic’ plays for the backs, twice this was shown; Talan with a turtle pass through his legs and Charlie remaining alert to receive it, followed by Callum running a hard line switch off a magic play.
An all round performance from Will at No 8, saw carrying, tackling and a 50 metre solo try having cut a hard line through the middle of the Leamington defence, saw him named MoM by the Leams coaches off the back of “a really strong front five” and Callum continuing his scoring streak.
The home team, as expected, had some skilled individuals but the match was won with solid Banbury team cohesion and an increasing understanding of how we play, one of the main differences was regularity of play and training together. With eight different try scorers and a variety of different tries scored, the improvement across the team is evident. Continued regularity of play is key, making Wednesday training key with the number of games remaining this season.
Man of the Match: Will W.