RUGBY LIONS: Resurgent and ready for big cup game on Saturday

Sam James in Lions win at Southam, with Dan Ford, Josh Lockley and Adam Attenborough   PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS
Sam James in Lions win at Southam, with Dan Ford, Josh Lockley and Adam Attenborough PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS

Lions beat Southam and stay top of league

Midlands 2 West (South)

Zack Higgs

Zack Higgs

Southam 13

Rugby Lions 25

Resurgence is most definitely afoot when you depart a picturesque Kineton Road, home of Southam RFC with a win and you are ruing not having scored more, writes Player Coach Rob Dignum.

Southam are a good, proud side that are well coached and have a number of talented players in their ranks.

Charlie Paxton makes the tackle, with Demo Gonsalves (left) and Joe Higgins behind

Charlie Paxton makes the tackle, with Demo Gonsalves (left) and Joe Higgins behind

Last Saturday, the place looked great, a Vice Presidents day in divine Spring weather saw plenty in attendance, with two curtain raisers before the crescendo finish of a tough first XV encounter.

We two sides have met on numerous occasions during Lions recent time of renaissance and as such have forged some healthy friendships.

Initial forays were nothing to write home about, the highlight, hearing the two respective head coaches screeching their dissatisfactions at their team, the opposition and the official in equal measure; as wily as one another, Addleton and Friswell had differing opinions on, well, everything!

Southam skipper Will Grindall opened the scoring on eight minutes after a plethora of penalties were awarded in favour of the home side.

Joe Higgins, with Chris Wood, Jack Higgs and Josh Lockley behind

Joe Higgins, with Chris Wood, Jack Higgs and Josh Lockley behind

An arm wrestle of supremacy then ensued with Southam’s backline making incursions into Lions; similarly, Lions pack enjoyed dominance up front with Josh Lockley and Sam Herrington prevalent.

Indeed, it was Herrington that opened Lions scoring on 17 minutes as he barged his way over from short range in familiar fashion.

Monotonously, there were no further scores until the half time mark, Lions accepting a simple three points to go in at the break, Southam 3-8 Lions.

Having already endured injuries and unavailability pre-Saturday, it was a little unnerving to lose Chris Wood, Josh Lockley and John Hemsley to injury early in the second half.

Chris Wood in possession with Sam James on Saturday

Chris Wood in possession with Sam James on Saturday

Alas Lions kicked on, extending our lead by three points on 50 minutes before Southam clawed their way back; full back Pete Burnell barging his way over on 66 minutes… 8-11 and egg starting to appear on the Lions faces.

Happily, it was Herrington who struck next on 72 minutes to put Lions 10 points in front and provide some much needed breathing space between the sides.

In a controlled showing for most of the game, Southm were now forced to chase the game somewhat, as they went in search of securing any league points from the encounter.

On 75 minutes, the Southam 10 threw a speculative pass that was gratefully received by Dave Weston.

In a case of vice versa, it was then Lions that hunted for the try bonus and in overcomplicating matters, coughed up possession that saw Southam score in the final act of play, wing Ally Thorpe crossing in the corner, for a final score of Southam 13-25 Lions.

Ultimately, I think both sides would agree that the contest was a bit of a disappointing affair; with my Lions hat on however, job done and on we go.

Sam Herrington scoring one of his two tries, with Joe Higgins behind

Sam Herrington scoring one of his two tries, with Joe Higgins behind

Happily, elsewhere Silhillians, second in the league lost away at third placed Spartans meaning Lions are on 77 league points, Sils and Spartans on 70 points apiece with just four games remaining.

# Away from the league, this weekend it is the biggie; Sils v Lions for the third time this season, on this occasion to contest the RFU Midlands Intermediate Cup Final.

Having beaten them twice already in the past few months, the psychology stacked against us stinks.

They need no further motivation to get one over on us, at theirs and with over half of their backline returning, absent from our battle with them a fortnight ago, they will provide a steep hurdle indeed in our season’s aspirations.

Dave Weston going for the line, with Matt Evans

Dave Weston going for the line, with Matt Evans

Joe Higgins celebrates with Dave Weston, with Andy Bowyer (right)

Joe Higgins celebrates with Dave Weston, with Andy Bowyer (right)

Joe Higgins celebrates a try for Sam Herrington in Lions' win at Southam   PICTURE BY RAY ANDREWS

Joe Higgins celebrates a try for Sam Herrington in Lions' win at Southam PICTURE BY RAY ANDREWS