Lions are Up!!
A stunning away win at Newcastle (Staffs) to gain promotion!
The Lions are finally there! Fifteen years after their formation and almost 5 seasons since they got back into Midlands 2 by beating the same opponents, a comprehensive 46-0 away victory over Newcastle pushed them to the highest position the club has ever achieved! Midlands 1 beckons next season and much needs to be done by John Tibbets and his team to keep them there but first we should all savour a famous campaign and promotion.
Early nerves, if there were any, were settled by a try by scrum-half Will King after 12 minutes following a series of scrums and penalties and then a ruck from which he dived over. Trinham’s conversion made it 7-0. The second try came 8 minutes later when a scrum was driven over for club captain Charlie Harris to touch down. 12-0 and total domination for the Lions’ forwards in both the scrum and lineout. The home side were conceding penalty after penalty at scrum time, with a forward yellow carded after a series of collapses.
The third try duly arrived with an interception of Newcastle’s first serious attack by Will Fallows who raced clear to score after 30 minutes, hurting his leg in the process and ending his interest in the game. The bonus points then came before half-time when, roared on by a sizable contingent of Lions fans, another series of scrums and rucks ended with a George Tildesley try near the posts, converted again by Trinham for a 24-0 half-time position.
The second half saw a more competitive home outfit, who had little left to lose, but the Lions crossed for another 4 tries, including 2 for veteran back-rower Simon Dawes, the first from a lineout catch and drive 4 minutes in and the second a converted try 5 minutes later from a 5m scrum. There were some periods of pressure after this from Newcastle but there was little risk of conceding and the Lions scored 2 more tries as the half progressed.
After 20 minutes an interception just inside the Lions’ half saw Alex Jones break clear; a series of passes left Cass Brookes to dot down for 41-0. There remained a determination to refuse the home side a score and some of the tackling was fierce and unrelenting. After some home pressure the final try came from Owen Williams for a 46-0 victory. Joint men of the match were the Bowser brothers up front, who blew the opposing front-row away.
The final whistle brought excited celebrations from players and supporters and a sense of relief after almost losing the chance a few weeks before. This squad has shown courage and no little skill and power throughout the season and this success has been well-deserved and well plotted by coach Tibbets. Onward and upward!
Pics by Sian Davies