Run of 19 wins ended by Pinley
Midlands 2 West (South)
Rugby Lions 7
Before becoming a Lion, I was fortunate enough to play against the club many times.
The feelings and emotions this fixture engenders is unique; everyone loves to have a crack at Rugby Lions and after 19 wins in 19 outings, something had to give, writes Player Coach Rob Dignum.
There was likely to be no surprises in the build-up to the contest, Pinley at their proud home were going to throw everything at us, and low and behold they did exactly that.
On February 11th, Pinley were better, hungrier and more deserving of victory, there is no getting away from it. Moan about the manner in which they won and you are an idiot, it is a man’s game after all and they take all the plaudits on this one.
In dreary conditions, little rugby was witnessed from either side as a battle of wills ensued. A fired-up Pinley were quick out of the blocks deserving of a 3-0 lead early on. This quickly turned to 6-0, before we had barely touched the ball, it was quite simply, all them.
A penalty try was awarded in Lions’ favour midway through the first half after persistent infringement in the red zone by the home side, with Lions taking the lead, 6-7.
This did not last long however as Pinley’s openside strode through some flimsy defence to dot down to regain the lead, 11-7. We had many, many other chances and on another day could have been well up, but for resolute Pinley defence that simply would not yield.
Four points down at the break, there was little panic… we have been behind before and had 40 minutes to turn around a poor showing. This, however, did not happen, the only points in the second half came via a simple three from Pinley, knocked over on the hour mark.
We had chances; for 15 minutes we camped on their tryline, further Trojan-like defence however did not buckle. We must have had a dozen line out throws five metres shy of their tryline, could we cross? No we could not. Pinley down to 14 men, no change… quite simply, the hungrier, better side on the day were more deserving of victory than us and hats off to Wayne and his side.
Left to lick our wounds and taste defeat for the first time this season is a bitter pill to swallow; nothing lasts forever however. I have played 91 games for Lions Firsts, this was just my third loss and it does not taste great.
We, however, dust ourselves down and will get back on the horse. What better way than next Saturday, third in the league, Spartans away, who have not lost at home all season.
As the outsiders dine out on this defeat, we are left to reflect… did we deserve victory? No we did not. Why did we lose? Because we deserved to. And this is where the only positive can be gained; ultimately, we will be better long term for this experience.
We are not the brown envelope brigade that people assume and we are a long way from world beaters; in truth, we have used our get out of jail card on several occasions this season and this was long overdue. What we are is a close-knit group of local lads that have ultimately done really well in 19 outings, number 20 got away from us and I say it again, well done to the opposition; a lesson in heart truly learnt.
Onwards and upwards, literally, the only course of action. We did not become a bad side overnight; this was, what it was… a blip.
Not as pretty as once was, we remain four points clear at the top with a Midlands Final, and hopefully a National Cup still to contest.
Asked recently, did I think we could go the season undefeated… my answer a very matter of fact, no I did not. Didn’t think we would come unstuck with this one, but there are some belters around the corner and it is all hands on deck this week at training before travelling to Spartans and further tough outfits for a repeat of, everyone loves to have a crack at Lions.