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Stourbridge Lions XV - Match centre

Stourbridge Lions
Malvern
Fri 14 Sep 19:30 - Midlands Division - Midlands 1 West Full time

Match Report - Stourbridge Lions 36 v Malvern 8

The first Friday night fixture of the season saw Lions welcome a Malvern side who were in confident mood on the back of their first victory in Midlands 1 the previous week against Stoke.

Match Report - Stourbridge Lions 36 v Malvern 8

The first Friday night fixture of the season saw Lions welcome a Malvern side who were in confident mood on the back of their first victory in Midlands 1 the previous week against Stoke. Lions also came into the game on winning form, although they knew a step up in quality would be required if they were to take the points in this local derby.

For the first time this season, Lions started the poorer of the two sides and spilled their first possession which led to a long spell of pressure from Malvern. For the first twenty minutes of the game, the ball rarely moved out of the Lions half as Malvern showed good continuity to put phase after phase of play together. Despite this pressure, Malvern were unable to score thanks to a Lions defence which showed excellent line speed, superb physicality and great discipline. The Lions also had a clear edge in the set piece and particularly dominated the early scrums, although on occasion the enthusiasm to use the ball quickly prevented probable penalty rewards as the Malvern pack moved backwards. Fly half Sam Wilson put boot to ball on several occasions to clear the lines, but on each occasion Malvern ran the ball back with fine pace and shape to pile further pressure on the defence. With around 20 minutes on the clock, Lions mounted what was more or less their first visit into the Malvern 22 and came away with a converted try when Fred Brookes broke two tackles to dot down under the sticks. The try against the run of play understandably dented Malvern’s morale and the balance of the game clearly changed at that point as Lions won and retained a greater share of the possession. They were rewarded again moments before half time when quick ball came out to Sam Wilson who slipped through the Malvern defence to score. The conversion drifted wide and the players ran in at half time with the score at 12-0 to Lions.

Lions vs Malvern 14.09.2018
26 photos

The second half of the game was a different story entirely as Lions came out with great energy and determination to kill the game off. The addition of Will Tibbetts at fly half was quickly justified when he skipped through the Malvern defence after less than a minute. Inexplicably, as he crossed the line to score the play was called back for a head injury to a Malvern player on the 22m line, despite that fact that the player was already rising to his feet as the whistle blew. This only delayed the inevitable though, as from the resulting scrum Tibbetts again danced through the defence to score. In fairness to Malvern, they reacted well and drove down into Lions territory where they were rewarded nine minutes into the half with a penalty which they converted to make it 17-3. The fight back was short lived though as Lions went in hunt of the bonus point try which soon came after some slick hands in the backs put Nick Mann in space to score the first of his two tries on the night. Malvern could have been forgiven for giving up at this point but to their credit they continued to ask questions of the Lions defence and were finally rewarded with a well-deserved try in the corner after their stand out winger rode a tackle well to break through. This was to be their last positive in the game as Lions further tightened their control on the game to score two further tries in the last fifteen minutes through Nick Mann and Ollie Bache, making the final score 36-8 to Lions.

Lions can be very pleased with the effort shown in this game. Malvern offered a stern test and will certainly win their fair share of games this season with their energetic and well-organised attack. It was without doubt the Lions’ best 80 minute performance of the season so far and was a testament to the hard work that has gone into training over the last few months. Such is the attitude of the squad, they will certainly be looking to improve again next week when Moseley Oak visit Stourton Park. With the league beginning to look like a close affair, there will be no easy games but there are certainly no unwinnable games for Lions on this form and the squad will be confident and motivated moving forward.

Pics courtesy of Sian Davies

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Lions vs Malvern 14.09.2018
26 photos

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Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Newbold on Avon 4 19
2. Bromsgrove 4 19
3. Stourbridge Lions 4 16
4. Old Halesonians 4 15
5. Sutton Coldfield 4 15
6. Dudley Kingswinford 4 15
7. Whitchurch 4 11

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