Match ReportSat 23 Nov

The latest visitors to Webb Ellis Road were local rivals Lutterworth. With Kris McFedries and Mike Howe absent due to injury, Lions fielded their new signing Mishka Huczmann on the wing with Andy Bowyer at full-back. Sam James started at number 6 following his travels.

The opening exchanges were fairly even, although rather scrappy in the damp conditions. A number of handling errors by the Lions saw the visitors chip ahead and fortunately for Rugby the ball was knocked on five metres from the line with no defenders in sight.

Lion’s pack were beginning to gain the upper hand, and Lutterworth were pinned deep in their own half for long periods. The pressure was relieved for the visitors with a strong run down the right touch line. The ball was chipped ahead and Phil Reed was forced to boot the ball over the dead ball line. At the resulting five metre scrum, Lions were penalised for offside and Lutterworth took the lead against the run of play with a well struck penalty.

Lions responded well with a series of strong runs, and the pressure eventually told with Nick Walton crashing over the line near the uprights. Phil Reed converted to give the Lions a well-deserved 7-3 lead at the break.

Shortly after the restart, Nick Walton was forced to leave the field with an injury, to be replaced by Dan Hay. Handling on the floor gave Phil Reed the opportunity to slot a penalty for the Lions and increase their lead to seven points. The scrappy nature of play continued with the greasy ball not helping the handling of either side.

Lions were penalised for not releasing the tackled player and Lutterworth had the opportunity to reduce the arrears. The kick at goal dropped short and Andy Bowyer collected the ball and attempted to clear to touch. The ball skewed off his boot and went sideways into touch five metres from the home try line. Martin Wood managed to pinch the Lutterworth throw in and the ball was cleared to safety.

A quick tap penalty by Phil Reed and chip ahead led to a defender miscuing his clearance kick and the race for the touch-down was on. The ball won, however, and crossed the touch-in-goal line just before Phil could get his hand on it. For some reason a restart on halfway was called to continue the contest.

Lions had a penalty six metres out in front of the clubhouse and Callum Forsyth opted for the tap kick and fed Chris Wood who headed for the line. The opposing number eight raced in for the tackle and appeared to slip on the greasy turf just as he made contact. His head smacked into Wood’s arm and he was flat on his back. A number of Lutterworth players thought that Chris had led with his forearm and this resulted in a minor fracas with most players involved. The injured player eventually got to his feet but he clearly couldn’t continue and was substituted.  A number of drives by the Lions, following the scrum, were thwarted just short of the line and a penalty allowed the visitors to clear to touch.

With time running out, Lutterworth began to throw the ball about and looked slightly threatening for the first time in the match. Another penalty for the home side gave them the chance to clear to touch and run down the clock, but the kick was sliced and presented Lutterworth with one last opportunity to possibly level the score. They could not really get out of their own half, until the last play, when a knock-on bought the final whistle.

A thoroughly deserved win for Rugby, although this game will not live long in the memory.

Next week sees a break in league action and Lion’s next game is away at Market Harborough on 7th December 2.30pm start.

                           Final Score:  Rugby Lions 10  Lutterworth 3

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