By Liam Moakes Wednesday 09 January 2013 Updated: 09/01 15:27
Pershore 19 Old Leamingtonians 17
Midlands Three West (South)
PERSHORE completed the double over the then leaders OLs on Saturday in a match which was switched to Kidderminster Carolians due to Piddle Park still suffering from the recent wet weather.
OLs’ only other defeat of the league season had come against Pershore in September and since that game neither team had lost, so this made for a mouth-watering encounter.
The visitors were buoyant from the start and managed the areas of the pitch in which the game was played very well.
After some early pressure it was no surprise when they took the lead. After a strong tackle, prop Karl Evans was deemed to have prevented the attackers from recycling the ball and the penalty was taken quickly and the number 8 scored in the corner, but the conversion was missed.
This allowed Pershore to get out of their own territory. After a penalty was kicked to the corner, a predictably strong maul by the Pershore pack marched over the line for Martin Hope to score a try which was converted by Scott Williams.
Normal service was resumed as Pershore again had their backs to the wall. However, the defence, at times heroic, was a match for what OLs had to offer in attack.
With the pressure persistent, infringements began to creep into Pershore’s game and they ended the first half with only 13 players after second rows Toby Grace and Luke Hardiman were both sin-binned.
The scrum still functioned well and continued to dominate the visitors but the extra men took advantage with a converted try just before half time to give Old Leamingtonians a 12-7 half time lead.
Pershore were improved in the second half and managed to actually play some rugby. Alex Peel became more prominent in the loose and Pershore’s back line, being marshalled by Tommy Hayes at fly half, started to enjoy more possession.
It was through a well worked sequence of phases between both forwards and backs that skipper Andy Jenkinson levelled the score with a try on the wing, but Williams missed the conversion.
At 12-12 both teams had chances to edge into the lead but the game was littered with errors.
With ten minutes left it looked as if the visitors had done enough to clinch victory when a mix-up in the Pershore midfield was capitalised on by OLs who raced over the whitewash to score, although the OLs kicker missed by a whisker with the conversion, to add to two penalties which he missed either side of half time.
With the clock ticking down the pressure was on Pershore to try and get something from the game. A series of scrums on the OLs line were the last thing the visitors needed and Hope looked to have touched down after his pack had marched over the line, but knocked-on during the grounding.
From the OLs scrum Pershore turned the ball over and won the put-in. With the final scrum of the game, Pershore again marched their opponents over the line but as Hope dotted down the referee lost patience with Old Leamingtonians’ infringements at the recent sequence of scrums and awarded a penalty try under the posts which was converted by Williams to give Pershore an unlikely victory.
The win moved third placed Pershore to within seven points of second placed OLs, who trail new leaders Old Coventrians by four points, and means the Piddle Park men are firmly in the promotion race.
They return to action tomorrow when they entertain Old Wheatleyans at 2.15, hopefully at Piddle Park.
Evesham 32 Woodrush 22 Midlands Three West (South)
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