Close game in ideal spirit

Action from Saturdays game at Webb Ellis Road.- Lions v Tamworth 3rds
Action from Saturdays game at Webb Ellis Road.- Lions v Tamworth 3rds

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Rugby 25

Tamworth 3rds 14

This was probably in its way among the most satisfying afternoons of rugby at Webb Ellis Road that I can recall.

The weather was cold, the crowd fairly low on numbers but very high on commitment to the revival of Rugby FC and the fixture turned out to be a really well contested game between two sides quite close in ability and playing in an ideal spirit.

The delayed arrival of the visitors as they struggled to get a full squad together meant the crowd could have become engrossed in the international rugby on the big screen but that wasn’t the case and by the end of the game, anyone still in the clubhouse had their faces turned towards the pitch to see if Rugby could hold onto to their lead.

The supporters are an uplifting group, perhaps about 100-plus strong on this day when there were other things to do, but all very grateful to still see rugby being played at Webb Ellis Road.

And they were rewarded when, on this weekend almost entirely without league games, they saw former first team players such as Nick Walton, Callum Tucker and Ian Renard give up a rare free Saturday near Christmas to turn out for Rugby.

With Mark Ellis currently taking a back seat, Keith Lawson is doing a great job with the very difficult task of getting a scratch side together for each game and all the players who answered the call deserve congratulations and thanks too. When a game at OLs was called off, two of their players made a late dash to help boost the Rugby squad which until then comprised the bare 15 members.

The game started with a moving minute’s silence in honour of very dedicated Rugby supporter Tony Green with Tony’s equally Lions-hearted wife Poll in the middle of the player line up on the pitch accompanied by one of her sons, Darron. This was the day after Tony’s funeral which was extremely well attended with a good number of former Rugby players among the congregation.

Given the greater youthfulness among the Tamworth side, it was thought an early lead was needed before old lungs suffered at the hands of young guns.

And that early lead did materialise with Rugby showing the good skills we have seen earlier this season as they built up a 19-7 advantage in the first 20 minutes of a game curtailed to a total of 60 minutes to avoid playing in poor light.

Tamworth came back with a try 10 minutes into the second half and this raised the stakes as the crowd wanted to see if Rugby could fend off the threatened All Blacks-style visitor comeback. Just like England, Rugby succeeded in doing so with two successful penalties and some good defence and both sides were deservedly and roundly applauded off the pitch.

Rugby: N Yeung, J Phillips, D Thompson, K Lawson, B Myers, B Davis, I Renard, C Clarke, P Goodfellow, I Edwards, P Greenbury, C Tucker, C Bennett, J Riley, N Walton, B Pelling, J Barber, V Deery

n The next game for Rugby is on December 15 at Webb Ellis Road against Newbold Vets, ko 2.15pm.