Sat 04 Nov

League leaders and unbeaten Bromsgrove were the latest team to visit the home of the game in what promised to be a very tough encounter for the Lions.

Already without captain Chris Wood with a long term knee injury, Lions were forced to re-shuffle their back line with Higgins, Lee, Curtis and Ure also missing. Mike Howes came in to centre, Jack Brenchley scrum half, and Lance Brooks on the wing, with Daniel Parrington switching to full back.

The visitors were first on the scoreboard after ten minutes when their number nineteen ghosted through to score near the posts. I have no idea of the player’s name, as there was no nineteen on the team sheet. The conversion was made by James Upton. Lions replied almost immediately following a ruck on the visitor’s 22. Spotting that there was no defence in position, Liam Munro picked up and strolled over unopposed for a simple try. Dave Weston converted to tie the score.

Lions were giving as good as they got and Howes nearly bust through the defence, but his opposite number stripped the ball from him and the try was Bromsgrove’s. The visitors are a big, well organised side and their back line was looking dangerous when they were in possession.

Rugby themselves were retaining the ball more successfully than in recent games, and a number of drives led to a string of penalties conceded by the visitors. Sam Herrington took a quick tap from one of these and burst through to score. Weston converted to tie the score again after 32 minutes. Bromsgrove responded with a series of forward drives of their own, and the pressure was rewarded when Ethan Priest crashed over under the posts. The kick was successful to give Bromsgrove a 14-21 lead at half time.

Alex Tansley came on at the start of the second half, and was soon involved in a scuffle after being blatantly obstructed. Rugby started the second half well with strong runs from Weston and Tansley in particular. A long clearance kick by Bromsgrove with the strengthening wind at their backs put the pressure back on the home side, and a long pass out to their huge left wing Josh Holt resulted in a score in the corner and the four try bonus point. The conversion attempt missed the target. Lions were then penalised for offside in front of the posts to give the Bromsgrove fly-half more kicking practise. This time he was on target.

Then came a moment of controversy when Sam Herrington was shown a yellow card for clearing out a player from an offside position in a ruck. He was deemed to have used a swinging arm which looked to be a harsh decision.

Despite being a man short it was Lion’s who were looking most likely to score with Weston and Munro, now playing at centre, to the fore. A strong run by Hemsley, and a deft grubber kick by Carl Strickland, allowed Tansley to chase and score in the right hand corner. Weston just failed to make the conversion. With big Sam now back on the field, Lions were one converted try from gaining two bonus points. A great try saving tackle in front of the clubhouse by Liam Munro was slightly nullified by a further offside penalty for the visitors in front of the posts.

Lions still had the chance of the double bonus point however, and a penalty kick to the corner gave them the opportunity. The throw was taken and the drive was on. Bromsgrove pulled it down to concede a penalty, and a repeat performance was called for. This time the pulling down was not penalised, but the ball was swung out to Dave Weston who very nearly sneaked through for a deserved score. Lance Brooks was just forced into touch and Bromsgrove gleefully cleared the ball to touch.

The game ended on a sour note when from the resulting maul, Bromsgrove’s Guy Field took exception to Aidan Parkinson’s attention and started throwing punches. As usual in these situations the referee decided to show both players a yellow card. Sam Herrington’s frustration and inability to control his mouth led to a second yellow card and the inevitable red. Despite the defeat, this was a good performance by the Lions and they can count themselves very unlucky to come away with nothing to show for it.

Things don’t get any easier for the Lions as next Saturday they travel to Burton, arguably the best team in the division.    KO 2:15pm


Final score: -   Rugby Lions 19  Bromsgrove 32

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