MATCH REPORT: Lions come storming back to keep promotion push going

Ben Young pictured on his way to the try-line for the Lions at Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Ben Young pictured on his way to the try-line for the Lions at Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby
0
Have your say

It was back to normal for the Lions this afternoon (April 14) as they returned to winning ways in the English Clubs Championship.

They roared to a comprehensive 55-36 victory at Bournville to keep their promotion push on track in the Midlands Premiership.

Kaz Henderson attacks for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Kaz Henderson attacks for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Buoyed by last week’s grand effort against champions Birmingham, when they were pipped 22-20 in a top-of-the-table thriller, the Lions went into today’s penultimate league fixture against the 10th-placed team brimming with confidence.

And it didn’t take them long to assert their authority on proceedings.

They scored a try straight from the kick-off as skipper Chris Humphrey charged over and by half-time they’d added four more touchdowns to lead 31-12 and, importantly, a bonus point had been banked.

Fleet-footed full-back Semisi Sitanislei Tei twice outpaced the Bournville defence to cross and the other two tries were scored by Ben Young and Tom Lewis. Young (2) and Nico Defeo added conversions.

Semisi Sitanislei Tei scored a hat-trick of tries. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Semisi Sitanislei Tei scored a hat-trick of tries. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Two more tries at the start of the second half - the first giving Sitanislei Teo his hat-trick and the second giving Young a brace - made it 45-12 and it was effectively game over.

Bournville did pull a score back to make it 45-17 but then hooker Niko Moa sprinted 40 metres to add another try for the Lions and Defeo ran in a superb solo effort shortly after to extend the visitors’ lead to 55-17.

Bournville scored three late tries - in the 71st, 73rd and 79th minutes - as the Lions took their foot off the gas.

“We got what we came for - a five-point win,” said Lions chairman Andy Moore. “We were always in total command and the scoreline flattered them a bit really with those three late tries when we eased off.

Niko Moa storms  in for a try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Niko Moa storms in for a try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“It was a great game to watch. Their pitch is like a billiard table and it suited our running style down to the ground. Mind you they like to run the ball as well. It was like watching a game of sevens at times.”

The only downside for the Lions was picking up a couple of injuries. Humphrey needed a few stitches in his face and centre Rory White hurt his knee and had to be carried off.

It was the Lions 12th win in 13 games and keeps them five points clear of Newport, their big rivals for second spot and the accompanying promotion play-off place. Newport also won well today. They did the business at Doncaster 54-21.

The Lions have just Bridgnorth left to play - at home next Saturday (April 21) - but Newport have two games remaining - home to Lichfield and away to Birmingham.