Dave Rushall’s report and pictures from Ray Andrews
PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS
Midlands 1 West: Rugby Lions 32 Sutton Coldfield 11
(Match abandoned after 60 minutes due to player injury, result stands)
In round seven of Midlands 1 West action, Sutton Coldfield were the latest team to visit Webb Ellis Road. Following their somewhat surprising cup defeat at the hands of the visitors, Lions were looking to get back on track in the league competition, writes Dave Rushall.
Sutton kicked off with a howling wind at their backs but a lost ball allowed Daniel Parrington and Sam Herrington to make good ground before the ball was shipped to Stuart Lee to dot down near the posts after three minutes.
The strength of the wind was immediately apparent as the conversion attempt was blown wide of the uprights. Lions’ pack was clearly on top, and a good drive was ended when a yellow card was shown to Herrington for apparent use of the knee on the ground after being tackled.
Despite being a man short, Lions continued to dominate and a good offload by Liam Munro gave Louis Addleton the opportunity to dive over the line.
Sutton Coldfield responded almost immediately with a penalty to reduce the arrears. Sutton’s main attacking force was coming from their strong running eight and in attempting to bring him down captain Chris Wood received a serious looking knee injury and was forced to leave the field to be replaced by John Hemsley.
In a rare visit to Lions’ 22, Sutton opted for the drop-goal to reduce Lions’ lead to only four points. It was Lions who had the final say in the first half, however, when Jonny Ure popped up on the left wing to feed Adam Attenborough for a try in the corner. Adam was not impressed by the tackle around the neck, and the culprit was given a spell in the bin. Kicking into the wind was impossible, so the half time score remained at 15-6.
Lions were right on the front foot at the start of the second half, and strong runs from Hemsley, Harrington and Lee gave Addleton the opportunity to fall over line unopposed for his second try.
With the wind now behind him Carl Strickson converted from near the touch line to give the home side some breathing space. Sutton were not done yet however, and came back with a well-worked try of their own. A lovely touch kick by Joe Higgins gave the forwards the chance of a trade-mark catch and drive and it was Liam Munro who claimed the try.
To their credit, Sutton Coldfield tried to run the ball at every opportunity, but it was the Lions who scored the next and what transpired to be the final score in the match. Liam Munro made a strong run down the right touch line, but was brought down just short of the line. A number of drives were thwarted until that man Addleton was on hand to crash over the line for his hat-trick try.
In attempting to stop him, a Sutton player suffered a serious looking neck injury and play was rightly held up. With the players heading for the changing rooms to keep warm, an ambulance was called for and after about 20 minutes the game was abandoned. As just over 60 minutes had been played the result stands. Some good news was that the injured player, after lengthy treatment, managed to board the ambulance by himself and I am sure all the Lions players, staff and supporters wish him a full and speedy recovery.
Next Saturday (28th) sees Lions visit Wolverhampton for what I am led to believe is a 3pm start.