Wounded Lions hope to bounce back after a Midlands mauling

Sam Crooks was sin-binned at Nuneaton.
Sam Crooks was sin-binned at Nuneaton.
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The Lions are hurting and desperate to bounce back from a Midlands mauling.

The out-of-sorts city side were thumped 53-0 at Nuneaton on Saturday - their biggest ever National League loss - and head coach Darren Fox says his players are determined to make amends.

“We were all so disappointed with that result and all the boys are hurting,” said Fox.

“They know the performance was not good enough, they know they made too many mistakes and they know Old Halesonians at home this Saturday (3pm) will be another tough ask.

“But we’ll all be up for the challenge.”

While Fox admitted Nuneaton were the far superior outfit on Saturday, he felt the scoreline flattered the Warwickshire side somewhat.

“They are a very good side - they have always been one of the strongest teams in this league - and they’ll be up there come the end of the season,” added Fox.

“But it wasn’t really a 53-0 game. They scored a few late tries which flattered the scoreline. At the end of the day though we made too many mistakes across the board. Too many turnovers and dropped passes killed us. We were too sloppy.

“And it never helps when you’re down to 14 men - Sam Crooks and Kaz Henderson were both yellow carded.”

The Lions have now played four games this season and are still looking for a first win. So how can Fox turn it round?

“I don’t have a magic wand,” he said.

“I know we’re a bit thin on the ground in certain areas - particularly in the backs where we’ve recently lost De La Ray Veenendaal (to Nottingham), Vernon Horne (to Oundle) and Jonathan Hill (injured), so I will try to secure some loan deals to strengthen the depth of the squad.

“But for the time being it is what it is and we’ve got what we’ve got. It’s a case of knuckling down and putting in the hard work.”

For Saturday’s game at Bretton Park the Lions will be without Tom Lewis, who is away on holiday.

In last year’s corresponding fixture the Lions were pipped 25-22. They also lost the away game at Old Halesonians 13-5.

Lions chairman Andy Moore is threatening to make ‘a big announcement’ if there is no sign of improvement on Saturday.

Speaking straight after the Nuneaton game, he said: “I can honestly say that in the 12 years the Lions have been going, that was our worst performance.

“I am so depressed. Half our players tried but the other half are just not up to it. Nuneaton were a yard quicker than us in every area. We did everything too slowly and got whupped.

“If the same thing happens against Old Halesonians I’ll be making a statement - watch this space.”

Moore’s depression was lifted slightly not long after the final whistle when he discovered a horse he’d backed at Newmarket romped home at odds of 25-1 and he’d won over £300.

The name of the horse? The Last Lion!