Just a bonus point to show for their efforts
PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS
Midlands 1 East
Rugby Lions 35 Oundle 46
Oundle were the latest visitors to Webb Ellis Road on a bright and sunny afternoon. Lions welcomed back Martin Wood from injury, John Hemsley, James Faulkner starting at 10, and new signing James Geurtjens at centre.
Looking to put last week’s disappointing performance behind them, Rugby started well and following a lineout, Lewis Moult crashed over for a try, converted by Faulkner.
Lions then somehow lost the ball from the back row of the their own scrum and the visitors spun the ball out to the right for a try in the corner. The conversion attempt failed to find its mark.
A series of drives by the home pack got to within inches of the line before Kris McFedries picked up and dived over. Faulkner converted to increase Lions’ lead to nine points. A chip ahead by Oundle bounced awkwardly for the Lions and straight into the arms of an attacker for a simple converted score.
The second half began with a huge drive from the Lions pack at a scrum which led to a period of pressure on the visitors. A penalty for the home side was despatched to the corner, but the throw-in was lost and the ball hoofed up field. In contrast, Oundle made the most of their chance from a lineout with a try near the uprights. The conversion was good to make the score 14-26.
Lions’ new centre Geurtjens is a strong runner and Oundle were unable to stop him from forcing his way over the line taking three players with him. Then came a moment of controversy. An Oundle player swung a boot at Guy Field while both players were on the floor, and he retaliated in similar fashion. This resulted in a minor skirmish, and the referee called Field over to show him a straight red card. A penalty was awarded and no Oundle player was spoken to.
Another chip to the right corner again bounced awkwardly ten metres from the try line and Ford failed to collect. The ball was taken by the Oundle winger for a simple try which was again converted to increase the visitors’ lead to 21-33. Oundle were taking advantage of the extra man and another converted try looked to have put the game beyond Lions reach.
Back came Rugby and Ford managed to wriggle over the line to give Lions the four-try bonus point and give them hope of a possible victory.
Lions’ depleted pack were performing extremely well and shoving the visitors back despite the lack of numbers, but it was Oundle who further increased their lead with another try, despite the ball having been clearly lost forward in the build-up.
Rugby came back with a lovely try following a break by Faulkner. McFedries was on hand to complete the touch-down with Faulkner again converting. Only five points adrift now, and a line-out five metres out gave Lions the chance to sneak the win. The throw was judged to be crooked, and the chance was gone.
Worse was to follow for the Lions when with seven added minutes showing on the clock, Oundle broke down the left touch-line and weak tackling allowed them another score and to deny Rugby the losing bonus point they certainly deserved.
Next week Lions have a difficult looking prospect with a visit to Paviors for a 3pm start.