Pictures by Mike Baker
Midlands 1 East
Rugby Lions 27 Oadby Wyggestonians 60
The latest visitors to Webb Ellis Road were Oadby Wyggestonians. The omens were not good for the home side with five first choice players missing for various reasons, writes Dave Rushall.
Lions started well enough, and put the visitors under pressure from the off. Despite missing an early penalty, Rugby took the lead following strong runs from Lewises Moult and Helme. The ball was then shipped down the back line for Dan Ford to score near the uprights, although the conversion was missed.
The visitors are a big unit, and they responded with a sniping converted try from the base of a ruck in front of the posts. Some weak tackling allowed the visitors through again following a quick tap penalty in the shadow of the uprights. Lions’ cause was not helped when Martin Wood had to leave the field with a serious looking hand injury.
Back came Rugby, and a long throw-in from five metres out, found Jack Brenchley who managed to squirm his way over for Lions’ second try. Joe Higgins was having a day to forget with his place kicking as once again the ball drifted wide. He did however, set fullback James Faulkner free on the left. Despite being tackled, he managed to find Moult who crashed his way over the line. Faulkner attempted the conversion, but the ball drifted narrowly wide.
Brenchley was then laid out attempting a tackle, and was forced to leave the field with concussion. If that wasn’t bad enough, Captain Chris Wood received the same fate shortly after to leave the Lions short in critical positions. Oadby scored another try straight from the restart to put them in front 15-19 with 37 minutes on the clock.
With Oadby attacking strongly, the ball was lost forward and was collected by Andy Morrison who cleared the ball to touch almost to the half way line. The referee decided that this wasn’t enough of an advantage and brought play back for a scrum to Lions on the five metre line. With the pack under severe pressure, Kris McFedries did well to secure the ball and feed Higgins for the clearance kick. The late hit on the kicker went unseen, and the ball failed to find touch. Lions were then penalised in front of the posts to enable Oadby to complete the scoring in the first half and give the visitors a seven point lead.
The second half saw Oadby score their bonus point try, followed shortly after by Rugby’s. A lovely run down the left touch line by Faulkner was supported well by Davis who touched down under the posts. Faulkner converted to produce the biggest cheer of the afternoon.
From here on it was backs to the wall for the depleted Lions as the constant tackling of the strong-running visitors began to take its toll. The scrum was not surprisingly being shunted back at a great rate of knots, and this resulted in a penalty try being awarded. There was no lack of effort by the Lions, but tries were being leaked at fairly regular intervals.
Prop Helme, who did very well to start the game after last week’s injury, was then forced off which led to uncontested scrums. Sam James was shown a yellow card for not retreating ten metres, and an Oadby player also shown yellow for pleading for the card and the penalty was reversed.
Lions had the last say in the game, following a strong run from Josh Lockley who had a superb match. The ball was fed wide to Faulkner to jink through and complete the scoring.
With Jack Brenchley and Chris Wood looking to be out for three weeks, and possibly Martin Wood longer, the resources are looking a little on the thin side.