RUGBY: Significant step up from last week as Lions win again

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Excellent performance to beat Old Scouts 43-8

PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS

Midlands 1 East

Northampton Old Scouts 8 Rugby Lions 43

For their first away fixture of this campaign, Lions made the short trip down the M1 to Northampton to play the Old Scouts, writes Dave Rushall.

With Louis Addleton receiving a three-week ban for the extremely harsh red card against Broadstreet, Paul Fowkes stepped in at hooker. With the breeze at their backs, the Lions were soon camped in the home 22, but a lost ball and hack up field, led to the home side taking the lead when the Lions were penalised at the resulting ruck.

Rugby responded with a series of strong drives, and a penalty from in front of the posts by Joe Higgins levelled the scores. Lewis Moult collected the ball just inside the Scouts half, and shook off three players before setting off towards the line.

Deciding not to bother with any fancy side-stepping, he simply ran straight at the defenders and barged them out of the way to score near the uprights, although the conversion attempt was pushed wide.

Straight from the restart, more impressive runs by Josh Lockley and Charlie Paxton followed, and good link up play by Higgins and Chris Wood led to Martin Wood taking the example from the previous score to barge over the line. This time the conversion was good to make the score 3-15.

The game was becoming a little feisty, and Jack Brenchley was set upon by the home flanker. Both players were given a spell in the bin to cool down. The pressure was relentless from the Lions and it was no surprise when Chris Wood picked up from a scrum on the right and fed Daniel Parrington for an uncharacteristically simple try in the corner.

Another penalty converted by Higgins made the half time score 3-23.

Despite the breeze in their faces, with Fowkes and Sam James combining superbly to win virtually all of their lineout ball, Lions maintained the ascendancy.

Martin Wood was forced to leave the field with an injury to be replaced by Callum Hopkin, and Kris McFedries came on at scrum half. The flow was not halted, however, and James Faulkner sold a lovely dummy to break through and score under the posts.

A break down the right touch line by Parrington, was taken on by the pack and was halted illegally. Joe Higgins was then cynically flattened by the home hooker off the ball, although unseen by the referee.

More incessant pressure looked to have resulted in another try for Parrington, but the referee deemed the ball not to have been grounded correctly. Shortly after, Parrington got his just rewards with a more typical length of the field try after collecting the ball deep in his own 22. He skinned three players before rounding the fullback for a wonderful try under the posts. Ford converted to extend the Lion’s lead to 35 points.

A series of penalties against Rugby allowed the home side to get out of their own half. A break down the left led to a player going over in the corner, although the touch judge had raised her flag as the player had put a foot in touch. After some discussion, the referee decided to allow the try to stand.

Lions had the last say, however when McFedries crashed over the line from a catch and drive.

An excellent performance from the Lions with a significant step up from last week, especially in the set pieces.