Lions Lose Top Spot at Home to Camp Hill
Disappointment for the Lions at Stourton Park
The Lions lost their third game of the season at home to close rivals Camp Hill by 21-12 and with it their 5 month hold on top spot. Camp Hill came with a large pack and a very physical and direct style of play that the home side could not cope with, especially in the first half.
The first 40 minutes were all Camp Hill, with the Lions barely able to get out of their own half until the last 10 minutes. Constant pressure, aided by the Lions spilling or losing what ball they had, as well as giving away 9 penalties, gave Camp Hill a considerable edge. The Lions had no possession and no territory and it was only down to brave defence that the visitors did not score more than the 2 converted tries they got for a 14-0 half-time lead. The virtues shown by the Lions this season, quick possession allied to quicksilver back play, was submerged in the power being exerted by the away pack.
A good half-time chat from coach Tibbetts saw the Lions at last start to stretch a bigger but slower visiting XV. Several opportunities were squandered in the first 10 minutes, including a most unusual one where young Alex Jones was through to score after a lineout but the referee called play back for a Lions free-kick.
Soon after the pressure told after another lineout and a series of moves culminated in a try out right for full-back Owen Williams. 5-14 and the game was on. A few minutes later another move from half-way stretched the away defence again and right-wing George Tildesley scampered over and under the posts for a converted try to get within 2 points.
Unfortunately this was the last score for the Lions. Almost from the restart Camp Hill established a lineout from a penalty rashly conceded by the home side and rumbled up to and over the line for a converted try. Try as they might and they went close many times, the Lions could not breach the away defence again - Camp Hill had the experience to slow the game at the breakdown and that, combined with 3 consecutive losses of lineouts on Lions throw, hindered momentum.
One final chance happened at the death when another Lions move was illegally halted. Owen Williams had a penalty chance from 30 metres out to get with 7 points and gain at least one bonus point but he missed narrowly. This was a disappointment for the Lions and they need to win their remaining games to stay on course for promotion. However it is still in their hands with top of the table Leek still to visit Stourton Park.
Pictures courtesy of Ceri Davies