RUGBY: Wonderful weekend for Lions

Alex Tansley in action for Lions at Leamington   Pictures by Morris Troughton-Hume
Alex Tansley in action for Lions at Leamington Pictures by Morris Troughton-Hume

Big wins for first team, Crusaders and Colts

Midlands 2 West (South)

Seva Turagabeci tackled

Seva Turagabeci tackled

Leamington 7

Rugby Lions 41

What a wonderful weekend?!

Rugby Lions, Rugby Crusaders and Rugby Colts all win big in wonderful weekend for Rugby Lions.

Sam Herrington

Sam Herrington

For the first time this season Lions were on the road making the short trip to Leamington RFC, writes Player Coach Rob Dignum.

Leamington had recorded an impressive win away at traditionally strong Pinley just a week before and as such we treated them as potential threats to our season’s aspirations.

Lions pack is not to be trifled with, some biggies in the forwards that are going to cause sides problems for a long time to come. From the first scrum some two minutes in, it was clear that Lions forwards, in an unforgiving mood were going to come out on top. And so it transpired, forward dominance made all the hard yards, with Leamington under the cosh in all facets of play and being regularly penalised by the official meant Lions raced to a 0-21 lead in the first quarter, courtesy of a brace from Ash Williams and Steve Clarke crossing, the three conversions each added by Jerry Turagabeci.

At this point the game should really have been put to bed, Lions however never really kicked on as they should have, all due respect to Leamington, the score should have been more.

Alex Tansley

Alex Tansley

As the half closed out, Turagabeci added a penalty before Alex Tansley and Andy Bowyer both crossed, for a dominant 0-34 lead. If players thought they were in for a pat on the back, they quickly find out otherwise as Head Coach Dave Addleton read the riot act, work at the breakdown was loose, time and again that final ruck got turned over and further scores alluded us.

Add to this we knew how we wanted to play; as a squad we regularly went off-piste, when the ball should have gone wide it got stuck in the forwards and when the ball did go wide, over exuberance in the backline witnessed the pack tutting at their lighter teammates as we to fluffed chances.

The game then turned, commendably Leamington put in a proud shift in defence by any means necessary and the official did as we humans do in such circumstances, inadvertently evened matters, as such Lions were unable to kick on.

We know we to contributed to a lacklustre second half; none more so than me when with Aggy’s voice ringing in my head, “Keep the ball and generate phases” I put a pass between my legs… the Aggy death stare still haunts me; suffice to say, won’t be doing that again anytime soon!

Josh Lockley

Josh Lockley

On 70 minutes played, Leamington endeavour paid off as they crossed for a deserved score in the corner, the extras neatly added from the touchline, before Lions’ Dharam Devgun crossed in the final minutes, Lions running out 7-41 victors in a dominant, satisfying albeit stuttering performance.

Woe betide the side in front of us when things do finally click and we put in a complete performance. Considering the scoreboard, this is a measure of the side, unhappy with our performance and aware there is a lot more to come.

Back at home, after huge amounts of recent injury and unavailability, Lions Crusaders faced Leamington 2nd XV almost back to full compliment and at this point I can happily pass my journalistic responsibilities to Crusaders Manager Ian Edwards:

In a summer which saw the departure of Crusaders’ vice captain Kurt Morgan and young talented Liam Leeson to Kenilworth, the Crusaders had plugged the gaps well and were ready to show Warwickshire 1 they are not in this league to make up the numbers.

Having won back to back league titles to get to Warwickshire 1, the Crusaders opened their league campaign playing host to an established Leamington side. 

Debutants Lance Brooks and Jack Williams controlled the game virtually from the off, after Leamington started the better of the two sides with the Crusaders having to defend hard on their line for the opening five minutes before Jim Gurling and Karl Izzard turned over the ball and with quick passing along the back line Jack Williams broke two tackles in his own 22 before finishing off a superb solo effort with Lance adding the extras.

The first half saw plenty of promise; half time score was 24-5 after the ever young Nick Hill added his name to the score sheet.

The second half saw the Crusaders increase the tempo against a determined Leamington side who stuck at it all game. At 50 minutes the majestic Ben Everton made his first appearance after retiring from first team rugby at the end of last season. With the pack now dominating the set pieces the backline expertly led by captain Karl Izzard started to string some phases together to execute exploit gaps and convert to points.  With Lance becoming more and more reliable from the boot the Crusaders ended the match 69-5.

And lastly, I present to you Colts Coach Vince Deery to report on their impressive showing at Bedworth:

The Colts had their second league outing of the season away against Bedworth… momentum had been building from the previous match with a real team spirit in evidence, every player wanting to play for the badge and each other.  The match commenced with a superb series of Lions rucks from which a platform was created to reach the 22 – a try beckoned but for a wayward final pass. The home team defended for long periods in the first quarter but it was a sustained pressure by the visiting Lions which ensured a try was eventually scored; this first try opened the floodgates. With confidence up and set plays working to plan, tries and attacking platforms were plenty. The newly established front row provided a sound platform for a back row to have a marauding afternoon cashing in with five tries (two for Jack and three for Cal) and a couple of superb try- saving tackles by Jamie. The backline operated beautifully with well-presented ball and timely distribution. By half time the colts were 20 points to the good.

The second half continued in much the same fashion with Bedworth falling foul of the laws and referee on many occasions (1 yellow card) and preventing the Lions building the score; but with sustained excellent running rugby well-orchestrated by first and second receiver with the ball being kicked only twice in open play – a winning result was never in question.

Two new caps, Craig at fullback and Bart on the wing, made excellent contributions with a debut hat-trick for Bart. The game finished at an impressive 67 points to 10 win for the Lions. Special mention to our new prop Andy for his sterling work up front and the senior colts Jamie and Tom for their example.

Jerry Turagabeci

Jerry Turagabeci