Lions third in table and getting better each week
Midlands 3 West (South)
Rugby Lions 46
Another Saturday, another unknown opposition – who were off the back of a 92-0 win the week previous – cue the now-weekly trepidation and nail-biting, such is the unknown nature of many opponents in this our new league.
Lions welcomed ‘The Rams’ from Shipston-on-Stour to Webb Ellis Road for round seven of league action.
Without five regular first-teamers, coupled with wet and windy playing conditions not conducive to expansive rugby, who knew what lay in store?
Well, any doubts were quickly erased, Lions racing out of the blocks as against Woodrush a week before making intentions abundantly clear and subsequently startling the opposition.
Shipston misfortune assisted by ferocious Lions defence meant that our opponents were forced to empty their bench, losing three players in the opening forays of the game.
During this time, Lions had opened their account via a penalty from Steve Coleman and a try on the left by second row Davies who continues to score for fun of late. Ten minutes played, 10-0.
A further three tries were added by Ben Husthwaite, Nick Walton and a penalty try, as Lions secured the try-bonus point on 25 minutes, this by way of direct running in heavy conditions, backs and forwards combining impressively in such weather.
The Lions pack were once again magnificent, the scrummaging a sight to behold as the Shipston tight eight were marched back relentlessly at every scrum. As the half time whistle sounded, Lions were 31-0 up and very much in control.
Both sides quickly exited the inclement conditions to find warmth in the changing rooms at half-time, the message from Lions coaches, ‘more of the same please!’
This would be difficult, however, as Lions were now playing into the gale, moreover were going to be facing a proudly determined Shipston.
At the start of the second half Lions crossed for scores five and six (Chris King and Neil Davies) to extend the lead to 41-0, it was at this point that Shipston defended courageously for the remainder of the game.
No matter what Lions threw at them, Shipston held them out and can rightly take great heart from keeping Lions at bay, against all odds.
In the final play of the game Lions did manage to cross once more for try number seven Husthwaite and a final score of 46-0.
To ‘nil’ two tough opponents in successive weeks is pleasing indeed, a statistic we are rightly chuffed about.
Also pleasing is the attitude of the players… currently there are selection headaches all over the field none more so than in a very competitive front row.
In a tight squad and early in the season, coaches ask that players appreciate that this campaign will require very much a whole squad effort and that there are a lot of good players requiring game time, should you be asked to make way for a fellow teammate, please keep toys in the pram!
Huge congratulations extended to all in the pack on a colossal display… all in the front row contributed massively; Aiden Parkinson, Chris King, Tim Murphy, Ollie Machon and Nick Walton each giving their opposite number a torrid time.
Ben Everton and Paul Davies continue to go about business in a quiet and industrious manner and on the back row; Sam Davies and Josh Lockley covered every blade of grass, as did Johnny Nicholls as he entered the fray, with Ben Husthwaite enjoying a fine game with ball in hand. Behind the eight, Neil Davies was again a handful at nine and Pat Howard led the backline with aplomb.
Jack Brenchley played out of position in the centre and received man of the match, alongside fellow centre partner Steve Coleman, who is a wonderful addition to the squad.
The back three of Adam Attenborough, Logan Roberts and Paddy Larchet were as ever a real handful.
Off the field, congratulations to Alex Tansley on becoming a dad and welcome to the world Gracie.
Also, we wish Lions stalwart Jack Riley well as he heads to the States to play rugby in Texas. In his honour a great night was enjoyed sporting cowboy get up to see him off in style. Sunday was a long day, made all the easier however as another pleasing week had gone by on the field!
This week Lions have another toughie… Southam, away. We are under no illusion as to the threat they provide, themselves hell bent on retribution for narrowly losing out to us in the County Cup final at the end of last season.
Taking absolutely nothing for granted therefore, Lions may be forgiven for keeping an eye out for the OCs Ledbury game that also takes place.
All being well, Lions may continue their impressive revival after tough times at the start of the season.
That aside and in our hands however, this fine group of players are gelling and quite simply getting better and better each week and it will take some performance to topple them on current form.