Upton’s double failure

First published in Local

UPTON-upon-Severn failed to complete a Midlands Two West (South) double over Old Laurentians and could not secure at least a bonus point from a 20-8 defeat.

In perfect conditions, Upton only missed inside-centre Andrew Burns with a damaged knee and quickly showed they could match their high-flying hosts.

The visitors used the wind to their advantage with fine tactical kicking from fly-half Dan Keyte and full-back Ollie Cooke pinning the Rugby-based side back for much of the first period.

Coupled with good phase play, Upton looked a threat with ball in hand but succumbed to the Laurentians’ fly-half’s ability to slot long-range penalties. He kicked them 6-0 ahead before Rob Heeley cut the arrears with a penalty and then Upton took the lead with a try.

Keyte, playing his second full game after a year-long injury absence, hit a high, long crossfield kick deep into the opposition 22 and teenage winger Joe Ayres pressured the full-back before racing in under the posts.

Heeley pulled the conversion wide so the score was only 8-6 but Upton defended well until they were hit by two lapses in concentration.

With Laurentians on the visitors’ 22, Upton twice missed a tackle around the base of the ruck and the scrum-half darted through, offloading for the supporting flanker to score a converted try under the posts.

The second period remained scoreless for 30 minutes with both sides trying to find a way through but, as the game wore on, Upton lost shape as their fitness began to wane.

With six minutes to go, the Laurentians flyhalf found a gap and popped inside for the winger to race in from 15 metres and deny Upton a losing bonus point.

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