Stourbridge Lions v Whitchurch
By Simon Lawlor
LIONS PAY THE PENALTY
LIONS PAY THE PENALTY
Despite dominating for most of the first half against Whitchurch and making a spirited comeback in the closing stages the Lions perished on their inability to stop the flow of penalties, 15 in total throughout the game and were the architects of their own downfall, losing 17-19 in a game that they should have won. Defeat still leaves them in 8th place, 7 points shy of 7th and only 3 points clear of ninth. With Bromsgrove and DK to come before Christmas they must take advantage of games against teams like bottom placed Longton and Droitwich, some 3 points below them.
The Lions started well, their mobile backrow compensating for the relative weights of the packs and the backs creating space. However, indiscipline and early penalties enabled Whitchurch to camp for a while in the Lions 22, from which they opened the score with a drive to the line and a converted try after 15 minutes.
The Lions re-organised and were rewarded when Jack Noott dummied and went over for a try wide on the Whitchurch left, well converted by Elliot Hopkin, having a fine game in the centre. Eight minutes later a scrum and backs move led to Nick Mann scoring in the other corner to leave the Lions 12-7 up at half-time. At this stage there seemed to be only one winner.
However, the away side had other ideas and started to penetrate the Lions defence close to the breakdown using their powerful runners. This pressure and the fact the Lions stopped doing what they had in the first half led to a try and conversion close to the posts 15 minutes into the second half. A second Whitchurch try 10 minutes later seemed to have sewn the game up for the visitors, with 15 minutes to go.
Back came the home side. With just over 10 minutes left Scotty Langdon did what Scotty Langdon does. Another Lions attack found him 20 metres out on the left wing and he bounced off two players down the touchline to crash over in the corner. Hopkin’s conversion attempt was on target all the way but dropped agonisingly short. The rest of the game saw the Lions run unceasingly at the away defence but crucial errors at critical moments saw them fail to add to the score.
Another defeat that could and should have earned the Lions at least 4 points instead of the losing bonus point. On to Bromsgrove next week.
Match Report by Jon Dews, pics by Sian Davies