RUGBY: Lions and Lionesses

The Lionesses v Keresley (picture by Chris White, Fellscape Photography)
The Lionesses v Keresley (picture by Chris White, Fellscape Photography)

Lions keen for return to action with trip to Birmingham Exiles

Rugby Lions will be hoping their next league fixture away to Birmingham Exiles (ko 2.15 pm) will be able to go ahead despite the forecast for this week suggesting there was more rain to come.

After the home game against Wellesbourne was reduced to an hour-long friendly and with last Saturday being a free catch-up weekend for the league, Rugby will want to get a full-on game under their belts before facing Cleethorpes a week later in the RFU Junior Vase Midlands semi-final.

Birmingham Exiles have replaced Warwickians in second position in Midlands 5 West (South) behind Lions with those two clubs level on league points and the Exiles having played one game fewer.

At Webb Ellis Road in October, Lions won convincingly 64-12, putting early points on the board to settle the result before a series of injuries disrupted the game, including one for an Exiles player for whom an ambulance was brought to the ground.

The Exiles were without a game last week as their re-arranged match against Keresley was again postponed.

Their ground is on the other side of the A45from Birmingham Airport on Old Damson Lane B92 9ED.

Last Sunday, the Rugby Lionesses slipped to a second successive defeat, losing 20-10 against what appeared to be a much-strengthened Dudley Kingswinford.

The large DK ground has six pitches but apart from the first-team pitch which was being saved for National 2 league games, only one was playable and the Lionesses’ game was the third on it that day.

As in their previous match, Rugby found themselves playing against the elements in the first half, this time a gale blowing straight down the pitch.

So the Lionesses did very well to keep the match scoreless through the first quarter although again they were using up a lot of energy defending.

Then after 24 and 29 minutes, the much bigger Dudley pack did create scoring chances for a 10-0 lead at half time.

Dudley then played very well in the second half and they scored a third try on the hour mark.

Throughout the game, it was only when the Lionesses were able to send their wingers on runs with a little space that they could break out of their half and a good move from right to left saw Emily Stafford outflank the Dudley defence for a try for 15-5 on 71 minutes.

Hopes of a late comeback were dashed, however, when Dudley scored again but the Lionesses did get their second try right at the end from skipper Gemma Booker after strong pressure.

These teams now meet again this Sunday at Webb Ellis Road (ko 2.15pm).

Rugby Lionesses: Jackson, Plackett-Smith, Ponter, G Booker, Stafford, Adams, N Morris, Hibberd, T Booker, Leighton, B Morris, Umney, Cawte, Harrison, Sadler. Reps: Maher, Brady, Withers