Lions in the Woods at Moseley Oak
By Mark Denison
A story of which team took their chances
The Lions played well at Moseley Oak but were always playing catch-up against a talented back line with Ollie Thomas again running operations and an outstanding 13 who is clearly in or on the cusp of the full Moseley squad. The final score of 24-16 to the Oak was not a true reflection of the match, just one of who took their chances.
Two tries in 10 minutes early in the first half, complemented by poor tackling for both was more than the Lions could resist, even though, unusually in matches against Oak, the pack out-drove and out-muscled their more experienced opponents, who resorted to slowing the put in and bringing the scrums and mauls down on a regular basis, to the frustration of Lions fans.
It took the Lions 20 minutes to get on the scoreboard, a penalty from Tom Mitchell followed quickly by a try in the right corner by the same player after a break by Ben Tibbetts. Unfortunately Oak scored another try shortly after and, despite constant pressure in the home 22 and significant numbers of penalties to the Lions, the score remained 19-8 at half time.
The Lions, playing uphill, took the game to Oak immediately the second half opened and had much of the early play, a penalty by Mitchell reducing the arrears. As so often happens, though, a breakaway try by the home right winger put Oak 24-11 ahead at the start of the final quarter.
Undeterred, the away side carried on forcing the game, with 2 home players sent to the sin-bin as a result but despite Oak having to resist extreme pressure, sometimes on the edge of legality, the only return was a fine try by Nick Mann in the final minute when he forced his way over the line to reduce the score to 24-16. The missed conversion, a difficult one, left the Lions agonisingly short of the losing bonus point that their performance deserved.
A whole-hearted performance from a squad shorn of quite a few players, leaves the Lions in a secure spot but with much to do to achieve safety, with tough games to come.
Match Report by Jon Dews, Pics by Sian Davies