Chester 26 – 36 Lions, One for Bartle

17th October 2012

This week the Lions visited Chester in an attempt to continue their good form from last week and obtain another important win, Chester away is never an easy fixture so a good performance was vital. The Lions fielded a strong team and over the last couple of weeks have started to see some consistency in important positions, Board returned from injury to once again partner Dewers in the centres, Walker returned to scrum half and for the first time this season there were difficult decisions to be made in the front row.

It is safe to say that the Lions will not face many bigger sides this season, Chester had put out a significantly sized set of forwards along with an extremely bulky back line, the Lions knew that this week their strength would lie in their fitness. The game started well for the Lions, they faced a long and fairly steep slope in the first half, the long grass made running rugby difficult as Hardwick discovered when he almost got lost in the grass, but the forwards from the outset began to put quite a few phases together, unfortunately Macclesfield seemed to be one phase short of the first try. The Lions took a blow when 8 minutes into the first half their Captain, Roberts was sidelined with a hamstring injury, luckily Longmore was able to step into the fly half position and Kennedy came on at full back, however this did leave the Lions with 2 front row replacements on the bench and as the game went on they would both be needed.

It was not long after this that the Lions went over for their first try in the corner after some good phase play. Not long before the half time whistle the Lions received another blow when Kennedy went off injured with what looked to be quite a nasty knee injury, after some shuffling around and moving fox onto the wing the Lions managed another 3 tries, two of which Longmore converted, Chester managed two tries of their own with and with one conversion the half time score was 12-24 in favour of the Lions. First half scorers for the Lions were Hardwick and Laing who managed a first half hat-trick.

The Lions came out after half time conscious that the game was by no means won, Chester had not yet lay down and would prove difficult to overcome in the second half. Before long Chester worked themselves right back into the game, they scored another two converted tries and the Lions managed one unconverted try which took the scores to 29-26. At this point the game was in the balance, luckily the Lions bucked up their ideas and gained control of the game. The second half saw numerous players struggle with injuries but with 3 injured players already off the field none of them could go off, the Lions managed another converted try before full time which opened up a ten point gap and proved to be enough for the win. Second half tries came from Taylor (the old one) and Alex Smith who had yet another impressive game.

Overall it was a good result for the Lions, there is some consistency creeping into their play and it will be important to carry on the good from into the next few weeks. There were particularly good performances from Hardwick, Laing, Walker and Smith, along with good performances from most other players. A special thanks must go to Bartle who despite extremely difficult circumstances still found time to help during the week.

Man of the Match: Laing

Team: Luckett, Taylor, Travis, McCarthy, Rawles, Laing, Fox, Smith, Walker, Roberts, Board, Dewers, Hardwick, Taylor, Longmore.

Reserves: Kennedy, Curtis, Davenport

Next week the Lions welcome Liverpool St Helens to Priory Park