Narrow win over rivals Rugby St Andrews in first pre-season game
Rugby Lions 20
Rugby St Andrews 15
Rugby Lions made a good first impression when they took on local rivals Rugby St Andrews in their opening pre-season game before their return to the league structure in September, writes Alistair Bruten.
Normally the score is a side issue in such warm-up games but there was a definite feeling between both sides that they wanted the kudos of a win with its local bragging rights after what was a very well-contested game much enjoyed in a good atmosphere by a surprisingly large crowd made up of supporters of both teams.
The two clubs used the occasion to give game time to as many players as possible but the match rarely lost its intensity and the one obvious instance of tetchiness came very near the end as the sides clearly made a final effort to retain or overturn Lions’ five-point advantage.
This slender lead had been achieved with the try of the game that involved a superb break by Adam Attenborough towards the tennis courts corner before he off-loaded to Gareth Bott who sent head coach Robert Walton over the line.
Lions had been ahead through the majority of the game but St Andrews had then levelled the scores in the latter stages to threaten an opening defeat for Rugby’s new coachng team.
The first try of this new season had gone to one of the new players, no.8 Ben Husthwaite, one of two useful additions to the squad from Lutterworth, who has been a multiple clay pigeon shooting world champion in his time and who also coaches the sport.
Rugby Lions squad (incomplete): Kilburn, Lawson, Gurling, Everton, Walton, Fuller, Husthwaite, Dignum, Attenborough, Bott, Webb, Jones, Edwards, Machon, Bayliss, Hill, Wyman, Whiteside, Rothwell, Hartley, Ure.
** On Saturday, Lions continue their pre-season programme when Rushden and Higham 2s visit Webb Ellis Road, ko 3pm.
The Den feature a very popular former Lion, Stuart Riding, who is the Head Coach at the club and who has been a big part of their recent success on and off the pitch.
Last season, the first team won promotion from Midlands 3 East (South), which included Rugby St Andrews and Daventry – Lions start in Midlands 5 West (South).
It is not certain if Stuart will be at the Lions ground on Saturday. He said he really wants to come to Webb Ellis Road again but the Rushden first team are also playing and he may decide he needs to be with them.
** Rugby Lions’ Open Day at Webb Ellis Road is from noon on Saturday (August 31)
They will welcome prospective players (Minis/Juniors, Colts and Seniors) and supporters or even those simply curious about how the club are doing.
Have a look at their facilities and talk to the age group representatives and committee about Lions’ future plans.
Visitors can also find out about the successful girls’ and ladies’ teams. There will also be a barbecue and bar.