14/14, move over EnglandSat 10 Dec
Round ten of league action saw Berkswell & Balsall RFC make the short trip to Webb Ellis Road to have a crack at our unbeaten record, writes Player Coach Rob Dignum. Fourth in the league having only lost twice this season, both by a single score to other high flying opposition; we knew they posed a serious threat… and so they did!
Conditions were cold and soggy; those behind the scrum where the hair mousse is more prevalent were always likely to be less involved in the quagmire therefore. And so it transpired, a game ultimately low in quality was enhanced by a war of attrition amongst the big boys with no love lost between the packs, both intent on victory.
Lions started brightly controlling the initial arm wrestle for supremacy with backs and forwards carrying strongly; this however was matched by fierce Berkswell defence that refused to yield throughout the whole contest. Their efforts were typified and subsequently rewarded when their stocky ten halted a normally unstoppable Alex Tansley in his tracks and forced a penalty early on for B&B to take a 0-3 lead, knocked over by former teammate Jonny Lowden.
Lions were next to register points, which as it transpired were hard to come by. Structured rugby was the order of the day, line breaks were largely infrequent, getting down field therefore, gaining possession and striking from close range was the preferred tactic from both sides. Callum Tucker scored his first of the season as he crashed over after good retention, the extras added by Joe Higgins.
Shortly after Higgins was again on hand to knock over a further three points after continual B&B infringement. Lowden later replied with another three points; half time score Lions 10-6 B&B.
The second forty was much the same as the first, no quarter given, defences on top and niggle creeping in at regular intervals. During the half two yellows were branded for acts of foul play, neither side able to make telling advantages of these as the ball remained in the tight for long periods. On 50 minutes Sam Herrington proved too strong to stop from short range, Higgins adding a penalty also to take Lions 18-6 in front. On the hour mark Lions rang the changes, among them a welcome return from injury to Josh Lockley.
Lowden kicked a further two penalties to reduce the deficit to six points before Herrington mirrored his earlier score, conversion added for a score of 25-12. Needing one more score to secure the try bonus Lions attempted to retain ball and work downfield. This backfired somewhat, with the scoreboard clock registering 85 minutes played B&B found themselves camped on Lions try line in search of the losing bonus point; this they secured in the final act of the game barging over for their one try of the match, much to their delight… cue further bouts of handbags: final score Lions 25-19 B&B.
As in previous games, mixed emotions in the camp upon the final whistle; a win against a solid and pumped up opposition add to this we are unbeaten on 47 league points from a maximum of 50, we are doing something right!
Regardless, much joy was had in the bar afterwards at the Christmas party, if pressed on events here I would have to say that this information is however classified.
Next week we look forward to travelling to Dunlop for the last one of the year that will also mark the half way mark of league games. Thereafter we welcome Leamington to Webb Ellis Road on January 7th; the following week is a date for your diaries, (a) it’s my wife Tara’s birthday and (b) we have drawn Coalville at home in the semi final of the Midlands Intermediate Cup. In the meantime, 14 consecutive wins under new management, a Wood on the back row, we look dead pretty in white… similarities between us and England!!