3 down, two to go...Sat 01 Apr
Having lost two on the bounce, the first time in many a year, coupled with just three games remaining and needing to win all three; Berkswell away was a must win game, writes Rob Dignum. In the build up, a nervous week ensued, Berkswell can pose a threat and it would be a real shame, given all that has gone before if we were to slip up at the eleventh hour.
Lions have only ever travelled to Berkswell once before, a cup victory in the opening game of last season. In December, at Webb Ellis Road we again ran out winners, part way through our nineteen game unbeaten run, inevitable talk of a slip up was expected albeit not in the stars however.
And so it was, on a fine afternoon Lions were in usual benevolent mood, gifting Berkswell the opening score after our now weekly recurring blunder at the back. 5-0 to Berkswell in as many minutes, this lead was extended to 8-0 soon after as we did our other recurring trick; getting up the officials nose and subsequently incurring his wrath.
Happily, Lions thereafter woke up and Adam Attenborough scored a simple run in from short range with the conversion skewed wide of the uprights, 8-5. Further petulance presented Berkswell another three points and the score remained at 11-5 for the rest of the half.
The second forty looked to be a lot more comfortable than the first as Lions turned round with the wind and sun at their backs and playing down the gradient. Momentum looked to have taken a bit of a bash when fly half Matt Evans saw yellow; six points adrift and down to fourteen men, one could be forgiven for their bum squeaking. I have touched on sports psychology in articles previous, mostly in a vain attempt to appear intelligent; the old ‘ten-man syndrome’ in football particularly prevalent on this occasion. In the time Lions were a man down, inexplicably we scored nineteen unanswered points… more yellows in future please! John Hemsley crashed over after good work from the pack, then Josh Lockley, before Adam Attenborough added the try bonus, 11-24. It must be said that Lockley and Attenborough, two of only four remaining ‘original Lions’ from the new beginning of2013, were both magnificent, carrying and tackling like men possessed. With around seventy minutes played, Lions purple patch ended and Berkswell enjoyed their flourish. Their centre crashed through the middle, after delicate defence to dot down under the posts. The conversion should have been a formality, alas a brain fart from their spot kicker, who oddly opted for a drop goal conversion; a comedy miss meant the score line was 16-24 and instead of a single score to snatch victory, Berkswell would need to score twice to ruin Lions season. Just as well, as the remaining ten minutes were all Berkswell who camped metres from Lions try line, happily staunch defence resulted in no further scores.
Five league points was just what the Doctor ordered therefore and in this very strange league, Sil’s were unable to bag the try bonus at home to Barkers and Spartans slipped up at home to Southam; meaning Lions are in pole position on 84 points, Sil’s in second on 79 and Spartans in third on 76.
All very much in our hands therefore… how exciting?!