Lions UnluckySat 16 Dec

was switched to Nottingham Trent University. The home side kicked off, won the ball, and Lion’s recent habit of conceding an early try continued with Melbourne’s No 5 strolling over unopposed in the right corner for a converted try. Lion’s responded well with a series of strong runs from the pack With the Melbourne pitch in Derbyshire unplayable, Rugby Lion’s latest league encounter and Alex Tansley stormed over under the posts following a line-out in the left corner. The conversion from Weston tied the score at 7-7. 

Lions were down to fourteen players soon after when Sam James was shown a yellow card following over-exuberant use of the boot in a ruck. This did not deter the Lions as they continued to apply the pressure and were rewarded with a penalty by Weston after the home side pulled down a maul.

Melbourne were pushing the bounds of the off-side law to the limit without punishment and ironically it was the Lions who fell fowl of the referee’s interpretation. Following a great clearance kick by Dave Weston who gained fifty metres with the ball going into touch, the referee bizarrely deemed a Lions player to be in front of the kicker, and presumably interfering with play. The resulting touch kick and line-out led to another offside decision against the Lions in front of the posts to level the score at half time.

The second half continued in a similar pattern with Lions continuing to have the upper hand in possession and territory, but unable to break Melbourne’s resolute defence, with handling errors and wrong options not helping the cause. A chip by Dave Weston into the left corner, led to a penalty and a line-out five metres out. A trade-mark catch and drive was called for, but the throw was long and the jump mistimed. The ball was hoofed clear and in trying to keep the ball in play, the defender touched the ball to give the throw-in to Melbourne inside Lion’s 22. Lion’s defended the sniping runs from the home side well, until a tackle on their diminutive scrum half was deemed high and a penalty awarded in front of the posts to put them in front.

Lions were back attacking in the home 22 again, when a lost ball was booted clear to gain fifty metres for the home side. With the Lions trying to run the ball out of defence, failure to retain possession resulted in a chip to the corner and a converted try near the uprights for Melbourne. A classic lesson in how to take your limited opportunities.

If the killer instinct was missing for the Lions, you could not fault their effort, and a series of drives near the home try line, resulted in Stuart Lee squeezing over under the uprights. Dave Weston converted to reduce the deficit to three points and keep Lion’s hopes alive.

With Lions again trying to find gaps in Melbourne’s defence, they were rewarded with a rare penalty for not rolling away on the half way line. With the referee indicating time up, Lion’s had the choice of going for goal to tie the score, or put the ball in touch and go for the try. They opted for the latter, but the kick failed to find it’s target and the gleeful defender ran the ball out to end a frustrating game for the visiting players and supporters.


Following the seasonal festivities, Lion’s resume their campaign with a visit to Moseley Oak on 6th January  KO 2:15pm


Final score: -   Rugby Lions 17  Melbourne 20

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