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Stourbridge Lions XV - Match centre

Stourbridge Lions
Sat 13 Apr 15:00 - Midlands Division - Midlands 1 West Full time

Stourbridge Lions v Hereford




A brave display by the Lions in what was John Tibbett’s last match as Lions’ Director of Rugby failed to provide the fairy-tale ending that this great servant of the club deserved. Tibbo has been in the job for 4-5 years, taking the Lions from Midlands 2 to Midlands 1 and keeping them there for the last 2 seasons. The fact that he has done so with a squad that, unlike so many in this league, remains strictly amateur, is only to be applauded. Let us hope that the new coaching team will build on the foundations he has created.

The match itself was one that the Lions lost 29-10, but this was a score they hardly deserved, given they played whole-heartedly throughout and could be considered hard done to. At least 3 of the 5 home tries were controversial, one a blatant knock-on and two others from clear forward passes, all of which seemed to escape the referee’s notice.

For the first half-hour the Lions more than matched their hosts and indeed went ahead with a penalty by Tom Mitchell on 27 minutes. Unfortunately they succumbed to a try and conversion 3 minutes later to trail by 5 points at the break. Signs of trouble to come, however, came when a player from each side was sin-binned just before half-time for a spot of “handbags”.

The second half opened with a fair amount of controversy and 2 Hereford tries in the first 5 minutes gave the Lions a huge mountain to climb. The first came from a Hereford knock-on right on the Lions’ 22 line, which a home player was allowed to pick up and go over for an unconverted, yet hotly contested try. The second came from a forward pass in midfield that was again allowed to continue.

Courageously, the Lions came back, with mounting pressure finally giving them a deserved try, scored out right by George Tildesley after a series of phases. A conversion by Mitchell gave the away side hope at 17-10.

Back came Hereford to score an unconverted try and, despite pressure from the Lions they could not add to their score. Things got worse when an altercation involving several players 10 minutes from the end led to a red card for a Lions player and 2 yellows for the home side. The final whistle came immediately after another forward pass led to a converted try for Hereford and the final score of 29-10.

No matter, the Lions have survived to complete their second full season in Midlands 1, a great achievement, considering the pressure on resources and the quality of the opposition. There have been some fine wins, notably a first victory over Dudley-Kingswinford, who were playing against Stourbridge Firsts in National 2 only 5 seasons ago. All the way through, Tibbo has been ever present for the last few years as Lions supremo, a stalwart for longer for Stourbridge and an engaging and charismatic coach. This reporter at least has been proud to consider him a friend.

Team selection

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League round up

Other Midlands 1 West results

Dudley Kingswinford
Stoke on Trent
Old Halesonians

League table

# Team Pl Pts
8. Old Halesonians 26 62
9. Droitwich 26 58
10. Sutton Coldfield 26 44
11. Stourbridge Lions 26 42
12. Longton 26 37
13. Malvern 26 25
14. Moseley Oak 26 12

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