RFU Midlands Junior Vase
Rugby Lions 132
Rugby Lions faced Skegness at Webb Ellis Road in the third round of their defence of the Midlands Vase and what a showing it was, writes Player Coach Rob Dignum.
Beforehand though, Skegness had transport problems, being forced to change on the bus, which must have been a sight for other road users!
And the U9s were on show in a curtain raiser and instead of them running out with us, they were allocated a senior player as a mascot to lead onto the field for their victory over Broadstreet.
The day, however, belonged to the Lawson family. Karl was an ever-present in last season’s campaign and his father Keith has long been a Lions faithful. Sadly Karl’s grandfather passed away and in a fitting tribute Karl was asked to lead the side out before a minute’s silence was observed in John Bromley’s honour.
And then the bonanza began, tries aplenty, 22 of them in fact for a resounding 132-0 victory over a battling Skegness. Six points shy of last year’s record score line, nonetheless a ruthless and clinical showing from the home side from the outset.
If we fell just short of the record score, we did, however, make sure one record was broken, and in some style. The record of six tries in a single game has stood since 1991 by Eddie Saunders. Ade Hales and Adam Attenborough have since equalled the record but Ben Husthwaite crossed for seven and fittingly Adam and Eddie were on hand to observe proceedings, both very humble after the game shaking Ben warmly by the hand.
The game itself was played in wonderful spirit, brilliantly officiated also. Skegness had their opportunities and time on the ball and needed to be broken down efficiently as they had power and pace among their ranks.
Indeed Lions did not have it all their own way, Ollie Machon will pay testament to this as he got poleaxed by their centre who defended courageously all game. Moreover Lions favourite Sam James who was well and truly knocked out - to the point of asking physio Guy King who he was!
The Development XV were also at home, and their 45-12 puts them two points clear at top of the table, above Barker Butts with a game in hand, well done to all involved in this rapid surge of talent and togetherness.
Club Vice Chairman Jeff Nowill summed up: “Given where the club was a couple of years back, to have almost 40 players wearing that Lion on their chest at Webb Ellis Road is astonishing. The fact the Development Team has given up talent to add to a great first team is brilliant. I think we’ve got a few more, either ready or close to ready to make the move.
“When other clubs are struggling for a second-string, for us to be close to a thirds is testimony to how attractive a proposition we are now. It’s fast becoming a great club again.”
Director of Rugby Steve King added: “Whilst it’s brilliant to see the gents doing well; the attitude, determination and support from our Lionesses is also incredible. And to see the Under 9s playing their curtain raiser is hopefully a sign of further happier times to come. Long may these happy times continue!”
The occasion was wonderfully epitomised by a Skegness player. In a spontaneous and selfless act, Andy Hill extended thanks to all at Lions for their wonderful hospitality and many were moved when he thanked all the supporters for graciously cheering him and his Skegness teammates from the field on the final whistle, citing it as one of his abiding rugby memories.
Lions’ 12 wins from 12 outings in this season’s campaign will count for nothing, however, if we are not at our best again this weekend as we look forward to welcoming Claverdon RFC, currently second in the league with just one loss all season and high hopes of promotion.
They will no doubt pose a huge threat, a side we will not be underestimating. But they arrive with Lions - the entire family - very much riding high, further success surely on the horizon.