Determination the key for Lions win
By Mark Denison
The Lions secured a welcome and merited win at home by 23-8 against Sutton Coldfield in Midlands 1.
Although results elsewhere leave them in 10th place there is a little points leeway now from the bottom three. It all looked rather unpromising at the start, with good early Sutton pressure, a penalty and a sin-binning for Stour all within the first 10 minutes. However, the sheer intensity of the Lions’ tackling and attacking play forced the visitors back and a great try on 15 minutes set the tone, a sweeping move ending with Nick Mann scoring down the left for an unconverted try and a 5-3 lead.
The next 10-15 minutes saw Sutton’s 10 miss a couple of penalties but the Lions’ pressure was relentless. After further sin-binnings, one for each side after some handbags and then a later Sutton one for a high tackle, a great kick over the breakdown by an impressive Joe Wilson was collected by George Tildesley for his first try of the night and the conversion by Tom Mitchell for a 12-3 lead at the half.
The second half more or less mirrored the first, with the Lions again causing real problems for Sutton with their intensity and pace. An early penalty by Mitchell further stiffened the determination to secure the win and the rest of the half, save for a 10 minute spell where Sutton dominated and scored their only try, was monopolised by the home side.
Another classic move with 15 minutes to go saw Tildesley go over again for a converted try for 23-8 and the game was over as a competition for the points. The only thing left for the Lions was to go for the bonus point and the fact that was not achieved was not due to lack of effort. George Morgan and Matt Poole were both convinced that they had grounded over the line during a huge effort in the last 10 minutes, but frantic Sutton defence meant that it was not to be.
So, 42 points and level pegging with both Sutton and Droitwich and 13 points clear of Moseley Oak in 12th place. However, there should be no case for complacency with difficult games to come.
Match report by JON DEWS, pics by Ceri Davies