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Excellent Performance by Men in Black

Rugby Lions Development 20 - 7 Atherstone RFC

Last Updated: Apr 6, 2015 01:14pm
Atherstone, North Warwickshire
By Julie Douglas
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Captain Matt Kent could not speak highly enough of his young squad, most of whom are relatively new to senior rugby, as they worked well with a handful of their first team colleagues to give their hosts one of the toughest fixtures they have had this season.  With Rugby Lions Development boasting an impressive form which has seen them dominate the Warwickshire League 3 and with the game being played prior to the National Junior Vase Semi-Final between Rugby Lions 1st XV and Northallerton, the travelling men in black would have been forgiven for allowing the occasion to overwhelm them however from the whistle the Ratcliffe Road outfit dispelled all thoughts that this would be a walk-over.

Atherstone came out of the blocks with vigour taking play deep into Lion’s territory.  Excellent defensive work from the home side saw them repel the attacks forcing their visitors back into their own half.  With eight minutes played, Lions used their weight advantage in the pack to drive the ball forward with a well worked rolling maul, crossing the whitewash for an unconverted try.  In response, Atherstone once again launched their own attack to be met again by solid defence.  For much of the first half, the spectators were treated to a battle for supremacy with neither side willing to capitulate.  Rugby Lions crossed twice more in the half despite excellent work by the Atherstone pack and superb tackling from Richard Garry and Stevie Parker. Neither try was converted leaving the half-time score at 15-0.

As the second forty started, the Ratcliffe Road outfit once again took the battle to their hosts putting them under immense pressure.  Lions stood firm determined not to allow the men in black to breach their defence.  In their eagerness to keep the men in black out, the Lions gave away a succession of penalties which Atherstone used effectively to sustain the pressure.  Eventually Atherstone’s consistency in attack was rewarded as Andy Redman took a tap penalty and the ball was moved effectively towards the try line with Michael Douglas taking the pass to power over the line.  Redman added the extras to take the score to 15-7.

Lions responded with a ferocious attack using their rolling maul to power up the park however the men in black stood firm with some excellent defensive work ensuring that their opponents were kept at bay.  Atherstone had an opportunity to add to their score as once again a tap penalty saw Rhodri Davies drive towards the line supported by his forward colleagues.  Lions defended energetically however it was the visitor’s own indiscipline that prevented the score as a penalty to the home side allowed them to relieve the pressure.  A final unconverted try from Rugby Lions took the final score to 20-7.

This was a very physical encounter which allowed both sides to measure their distance travelled throughout the season.  Kent, who is building a team of youngsters transitioning to the senior game, was proud of his team’s performance and of the bright future for Atherstone RFC as the youngsters mature and develop into the senior game.

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