Stourbridge Lions v Worcester
By Simon Lawlor
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR FOR LIONS AT WORCESTER
The Lions went to Worcester on Friday night and came away with a much improved performance but no joy after a frustrating 24-16 defeat. This has left them precariously placed in Midlands 1 and in need of a couple of morale-boosting wins to ensure safety. They can be proud, however, that, with several players still out they pushed Worcester all the way and ended the game camped in the home 22 striving for the points that could at least have given a losing bonus point.
The game got off to a poor start with a home penalty goal, but this was soon cancelled out by a response from a nerveless Tom Mitchell for 3-3 after 10 minutes. The score remained level for much of the half, despite home pressure, but for a converted try by Worcester. The Lions picked themselves off the floor and started to trouble the home defence towards the end of the half, so much so that the equalised with their own try just before half-time, a break by George Morgan, continued in the backs, saw Alex Jones go over under the posts. 10-10 at half-time and all to play for.
Five minutes into the second half another penalty from Mitchell saw the Lions take the lead for the first and only time, but this was cancelled out by a powerful, forwards inspired try and conversion for Worcester to lead 17-13. Back came the Lions with a period of pressure and a penalty mid-way through the half brought the Lions within a point. However, disaster in the form of a penalty try left the Lions trying to claw back an 8 point deficit with around 15 minutes to go. For much of that period they forced the home side back and were close several times to a try; however they were frustrated all the way to the final whistle. The final action of the match saw the home outfit concede several penalties and a series of Lions attacks close to the line, which came to an end with a home forward seemingly able to sprint faster than Usain Bolt to intercept a Lions pass from a ruck. The final whistle came almost immediately after to end the gallant attempt at a losing point.
This was a much better performance than at Stoke the previous weekend but there are many tough games to come, some against fellow lower level sides. The need for injuries to clear up and put more players at coach Tibbetts disposal is important.