RUGBY ROUND-UP: Lions promoted as champions

Lions celebrate the league title after their win over Ledbury   (Pictures by Mike Baker)
Lions celebrate the league title after their win over Ledbury (Pictures by Mike Baker)

Third places after fine season for Rugby Welsh and Newbold

Well, they did it! Rugby Lions won on Saturday to be promoted as champions. They beat Ledbury 46-5 at Webb Ellis Road and gained top spot.

A good crowd at Webb Ellis Road enjoyed Lions 46-5 win on Saturday

A good crowd at Webb Ellis Road enjoyed Lions 46-5 win on Saturday

They were helped by the result at Southam, who beat leaders Evesham 13-0 to take the other promotion place.

Going into the game Evesham, who had been minutes from securing the title two weeks ago until Lions beat them with a very late try, were top with 86 points. Rugby were second with 85 and Southam third on 82.

And after Saturday’s results, the final placings see Lions on 90 points, Southam on 86 (+573) and Evesham also on 86 but with a lesser points difference of 378.

Against fifth-placed Ledbury Lions went ahead in the 11th minute with an Adam Atteborough try, but when the visitors levelled just five minutes later supporters wondered if it was going to be another one of those days. But Callum Tucker’s try in the 18th minute, converted by Kris McFedries in the absence of regular kicker Steve Coleman, who has returned to Australia, made it 12-5.

Wing Adam Attenborough scored two tries in Lions' win over Ledbury

Wing Adam Attenborough scored two tries in Lions' win over Ledbury

Lions stretched the lead five minutes later and were 24-5 up at half time with a try by centre Paddy Larchet.

Attenborough’s second score of the day early in the second half boosted confidence that Lions wouldn’t be caught and with Ash Williams and Alex Tansley getting on the scoresheet for 41-5 just after the half hour it was nearly time to celebrate. Jonny Ure finished off with a try at the end for 46-5 and job well done.

The game marked captain Ben Everton’s last first team appearance, having secured three promotions in the last three seasons. It might also mean, with Old Laurentians being relegated from Midlands 1 East, there could be some good derby games on the cards should the two clubs be allocated to the same division.

OLs were beaten 54-15 by second-placed Derby at Fenley Field on Saturday, while Newbold beat Ilkeston 22-10 away, finishing third after an excellent first season in the division.

It wasn’t such a good day for Rugby Welsh, who also finish third in their division, Midlands 5 West (South). They went into their game at Trinity Guild with an outside chance of gaining the runners-up promotion spot, but lost 12-10. But they can feel better knowing that even the win wouldn’t have been enough as Five Ways Old Edwardians beat Copsewood 35-0, ensuring the maximum five points including the four-try bonus. Keresley had already been crowned champions with 67 points, Five Ways finish on 64 and Welsh on 60. Going into the game Five Ways and Welsh were level on 59 points, but Welsh were at a disadvantage with a poorer points difference. It was still been their best season in recent years and they can look forward to building on that next time out,

Completing the town’s fixtures on Saturday were Rugby St Andrews, who were beaten 34-5 at John Tomalin Way by fourth-placed Northampton Casuals. After a strong mid-season, Saints have struggled in recent weeks to finish a disappointing third from bottom and will be keen to better that next season.