Just not Lions’ day as they are beaten by Northallerton
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Lions’ dreams of another Twickenham final were ended on Saturday by Yorkshire side Northallerton, who won 27-17 at Webb Ellis Road in the national semi-final of the RFU Junior Vase.
It was a day when it just didn’t happen for Lions who, going into the game, had a 100 per cent record of 28 wins in all competitions this season.
They were 12-0 down after a quarter of an hour with two tries for the visitors, one a breakaway from half way.
Just before the half hour Lions were back in the game, when Ciaran Wardle went over in the corner, Ash Williams’ conversion bringing the score to 7-12. But just eight minutes later Northallerton stretched ahead again with another unconverted try for a half-time score of 7-17 and Lions with plenty to do.
Whatever was said in the team talk, Lions dominated the second-half, with Ollie Machon scoring a vital try after 19 minutes, which Williams again converted to narrow the gap to just three points at 14-17. And when Williams’ penalty made it 17-17 with 15 minutes still to play a Lions’ comeback looked on the cards.
But just after the half-hour another interception from halfway took the wind out of Lions’ sails and at 17-24, despite their best efforts, there was no way back. A final Northallerton penalty four minutes from time put the game out of reach at 17-27.
The defeat was a huge disappointment for players and supporters, who would have loved another day at Twickenham and a chance of the Junior Vase title, but it just wasn’t to be.
But for the Midlands 4 West (South) and Midlands Junior Vase champions, with two County Shield trophies also in the cabinet, it’s still been an amazingly successful season.
Lions have just one more game to play, in the league, away at Coventry Welsh on Saturday.