Seven forwards missing for final game of season at Melton Mowbray
PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS, REPORT BY DAVE RUSHALL
Midlands 1 East
Melton Mowbray 34 Rugby Lions 27
For their final league match, Lions travelled to Melton Mowbray who had only managed one win all season, writes Dave Rushall.
Not for the first time, Lions were missing key players including no less than seven forwards through various reasons.
This resulted in hooker Paul Fowkes partnering Sam James in the second row, and an unlikely back row of wing Adam Attenborough, centre Dave Weston and scrum half Jack Brenchley! Coach Dave Addleton took a place on the bench.
Lost possession and poor defending allowed Melton a try in the corner. A string of penalties awarded against the Lions led to a catch and drive rolling maul and a second try, this time converted, for a 12- point lead to the home side.
Lions hit back with a quick tap penalty by Rickie Aley which gave the space for Louis Addleton to dive over in the left corner.
A break from the base of a scrum by Kris McFedries, and full back Dan Parrington joining the line, gave space down the right for Louis Smith to stroll over Lions’ second try. Aley converted to tie the score at 12-12.
Lions’ penalty count continued to rise resulting in another catch-drive-maul try for the home side. Melton were certainly looking the sharper of the two sides, and soon scored another converted try following a throw-in.
Back came the Lions, and a series of drives by the forwards gave the opportunity for Parrington and Smith to combine again for a repeat of the previous try in the right cornerfor 24-17 to the home side at half time.
With the strong breeze now in their favour, the travelling Lions supporters hoped that the tide would turn in their favour. It began well enough following a penalty to the corner and the pack driving over the line with Attenborough claiming the score to match the home side’s try bonus point.
A period of concerted pressure by the home side was repelled by some resilient Lions defence, although their attempts to attack were thwarted by poor decision making and lack of control. Following a chip over Lions’ back line, a penalty was awarded in front of the posts and the kick was successful to extend the home side’s lead to five points.
A lovely chip ahead was taken by the home left winger who ran in to score under the posts despite several failed attempts to bring him down. The conversion was successful.
It was Rugby’s turn to apply the pressure, and were camped on the home try line for a number of phases of play. Despite Melton conceding frequent penalties on their own try line without further punishment, the pressure eventually told with Lewis Moult crashing over for Lions’ fifth try.
All credit to the players who stepped up and showed their commitment to Lions cause, although this was a very disappointing result.
Melton Mowbray deserved their victory, and two bonus points for the Lions is scant reward against a team with only one previous win.