On a cold, wet and windy Cup final day at Earlsdon RFC the Rugby Lions Development team met Coventry Welsh chasing a Club Cup double in the Warwickshire Shield writes Lions Development Manager Ian Edwards. The squad was fired up and ready to take on whatever team Coventry Welsh wanted to field, be it first team players or not. Lions won the toss and elected to show their intent by chasing the kick off. With Lions dominating at the breakdown, their hard work soon paid off courtesy of Coventry Welsh indiscipline, handling the ball on the floor at the breakdown leading to Lions taking a 3-0 lead thanks to Logan Roberts trusty right boot helping to settle any nerves.
Coventry Welsh used their experienced front row to dominate at the scrum, taking advantage of some of the Lion’s youthful forwards to win three penalties during a ten minute period Welsh kicked all three penalties to goal but were only successful on the last occasion.
Having recognised the mismatch in the pack, Lion’s management made changes to even up the contest. The next scrum showed the immediate impact by giving Welsh a taste of their own medicine leading to a penalty which was duly kicked to touch deep into the Welsh ‘22.’ The resulting lineout was worked perfectly, a textbook catch and drive maul to the line with No 8 Dave Miles going over for the try with the conversion from the ever reliable Logan Roberts. The Lions pack started to dominate the contest with exceptional work at the breakdown which led to further indiscipline from Welsh, leaving the referee with no other choice but to issue a yellow card leaving Coventry Welsh with a man down.
At the Half time whistle the Lions headed to the changing rooms to change their kit to the rightful colour of white to avoid the clash of shirt colours and to help the officials identify infringements at the breakdown.
Slow out of the changing rooms after the break Lions allowed Welsh time to become fired up having got themselves back into the game before half time, as this final was their only chance to gain silverware for this season.
Lions defence stood strong as it had done numerous times this campaign until a poor decision fromLogan Roberts earned him 10 minutes in the bin. With the tables turned Welsh’s extra man advantage allowed them to find space out wide to score their try and level the game at 10-10.
Back up to 15 men the Lion’s pride started to move through the gears wearing down a maturing Welsh side. For the remaining 20 minutes Welsh had to continuously defend their line. Lion’s earned a scrum 10 meters out, Lions power ultimately proving too much for Welsh, driving them over the line to re-establish their lead at 15-10.
From the resulting restart, Lions hard hitting cave man Matt West caught the ball and charged straight back at the Welsh defence. A quick ball to the Lions backs showed everyone what they do week in week out by running excellent support lines to add a third try. Logan Roberts added the extras to make the score 22-10.
With only 10 minutes remaining to salvage their season Welsh tried to get back into the game but to no avail. The Lions Defence stood strong. The final whistle blew and the excitement and joy from the squad was shown in their celebrations, they had earned the Club Warwickshire double. For the club as a whole, which was re born last season and the development team in its inaugural contest in this cup, the win was a massive achievement. The development team are matching the first team week to week, winning the cup and currently top the league by 7 points with a game in hand.
Recognition and thanks must be given to the Coventry Welsh players for giving their all on the pitch and the spirt of how they played the game, not giving up until the final whistle was blown.