Stourbridge Lions v DK
By Simon Lawlor
LIONS DEFEAT DK FOR THE FIRST TIME
Four years ago DK were playing in National 2 against the Stourbridge professional side, while the Lions were struggling to get out of Mids 2 and had been as low as Mids 3. It is as much a measure of the Lions’ rise as DK’s fall that we are now competing in the same division. Today, the Lions can stand up tall in following the professional side in beating DK, this being their first ever win against them.
Whatever the reasons for the win, missing players (the Lions were missing at least six and lost another 2 during the match) being one, this was a victory for strength, determination, refusal to submit, call it what you will. For 89 minutes of this match the defence was magnificent, particularly in a second half facing driving rain and everything that Stef Shillingford and the home team threw at them. 6-0 up at half time, they matched DK with a try apiece and came out worthy 11-5 winners. Grown men (and women) had tears in their eyes at the end and many were the cheers and hugs at the whistle.
The first half saw the Lions quickly off the mark, their pack and young half-backs Joe Wilson and Will Tibbetts prominent in unleashing the likes of Scotty Langdon and George Tildesley at the DK defence. Several times their defences were almost breached as Langdon and Sam Wilson probed the gaps. Somehow the home defence held and the game became more even, with the tackle and penalty count rising throughout the half for both sides.
The first score came just before the half-hour when a DK infringement gave Tibbetts the chance to fire over a penalty for a 3-0 lead. The predicted backlash never came but, with the wind and rain picking up it looked worrying for Lions fans when viewing the second half.
Tibbetts popped over a second penalty just before the half and the Lions held off some DK pressure before they turned round into an increasingly violent rainstorm. 6-0 at half-time and all to play for.
The second half was only 8 minutes old when DK got the first try, a mistake in midfield and a couple of missed tackles allowing the DK winger over wide on the Lions left. One point in it and it was clear that DK felt the Lions were there for the taking. The away side dug deep, even with 2 sin-binnings within 10 minutes and got their reward after 20 minutes of the half. A scrum 40 metres out from DK’s line saw a break left and then a fine run from the impressive Sam Wilson, beating 2 defenders, gave the chance for full back Jack Noott to go over in the corner. By now kicking was a lottery and the attempted conversion was well-nigh impossible, but the Lions led 11-5 and then spent the rest of the half defending the slender lead.
The clock ticked down agonisingly slowly for Lions watchers with DK attacking and the away side responding with relieving kicks and breaks out of defence. Lineout after lineout, over 30 in all during the match, was contested manfully by the Lions. The second half lasted almost 50 minutes and the last 5 left DK camped in the Lions’ 22 but they were immovable, resisting everything thrown at them, including the weather. Cue final whistle and group hysteria on the Lions side of the pitch. A slender win, no bonus points but who cares – we beat DK! Those who saw it will not soon forget it.
While a few players have been mentioned the man of the match goes to:
1. Jagjit Mahal
2. James St. Aubyn
3. Jack Spencer
4. Alex Jones
5. Jake Fellows
6. Jack Jeavons Fellows
7. Fred Brookes
8. Niall Gibbons
9. Joe Wilson
10. William Tibbetts
11. Ollie Bache
12. Scott Langdon
13. Sam Wilson
14. George Tildesley
15. Jack Noott
16. Tim Daly
17. Darrell Aldridge
18. Tom Neal
Incredible performance from every player and historical win. Lions Lion Lions...…….