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Match report 2/9/21

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Forum Name: National League 2
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Printed Date: 06 Dec 2021 at 03:21
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Topic: Match report 2/9/21
Posted By: tigerburnie
Subject: Match report 2/9/21
Date Posted: 04 Oct 2021 at 10:32

Lions find it tough on The Channel Islands


Guernsey 17 Leicester Lions 5

Saturday 2nd October 2021

League Points 4-0

Guernsey 17: Tries Anthony Armstrong (49), Charlie Currie (54); Conversions: Owen Thomas (50, 55); Penalties: Owen Thomas (17)

Leicester Lions 5: Tries: Oli Taylor (80);

The Lions made the long journey to Guernsey for the time in their history with a very depleted squad. In fact there were no less than 9 changes from last week’s outstanding win against Esher.

There were debuts for 18 year old development squad member Jay Smith and 19 year old Joe Brock, loaned from Coventry in the week. There were also first starts of the season for Toby Hutchinson, Jack Vernum, Calum Harris and Will Helliwell. Flanker John Murdoch was stepping in at scrum half and Calum Harris, a hooker, was at outside centre. So desperate was the situation that head coach Gareth Collins was named amongst the replacements, 8 years since his last appearance for the club.

Any ideas of playing expansive rugby that either side may have had were quickly extinguished by the horrendous weather conditions. The wind was so strong that it actually blew over the replacements dugout during warm up. Despite these difficulties though the Lions started the game strongly, battling against the conditions for the first half, and conceded only a long range penalty on 17 minutes.

Brock was causing the Guernsey midfield problems with a number of powerful carries and both Jake Sterland and Alex WilHuckleberryson broke the Guernsey defensive line only to be reeled in agonisingly short of the line. Only some heroic defensive work from Guernsey on their own line prevented the Lions from going in to the break in the lead.

Half-Time: Guernsey 3 Leicester Lions 0

However with the conditions at their backs second half, and starting with a man up due to a yellow card for Guernsey’s number 8 towards the end of the first half, it appeared that the Lions had done enough to win the game. Guernsey had other ideas though and started the second half with some excellent rugby against the wind. Their direct and aggressive attack meant they were dominating proceedings and were rewarded with converted tries on 49 and 54 minutes.

As they tried to find a way back in to the game the Lions unloaded the bench, including a return to action for Andrew Murdoch, 6 years after his last appearance. The Lions battled hard but couldn’t find a score until stoppage time when they were finally rewarded when Olly Taylor crossed in the corner following a period of sustained pressure.

Final Score: Guernsey 17 Leicester Lions 5

A young and inexperienced Lions side can take a huge amount of pride from the contest but will no doubt feel disappointed that they didn’t make the most of their chances and come away with at least a losing bonus point.

Head coach Gareth Collins commented ‘‘It was a very difficult week, to be honest the most difficult week I’ve ever had as a national league player or coach, followed by a very frustrating afternoon. It’s always hard when you have to make so many changes, and play players out of position, especially in key positions. I cannot fault the effort of everyone though, and it’s great to have the opportunity to expose the young lads to that level. Ultimately I’m very disappointed though as we certainly should have got something out of the game, and perhaps we would have done if we’d taken our chances in the first half. I think we all felt we had done enough first half and just let our intensity levels drop at the start of the second half, and we were punished for that by a Guernsey side who deserved the win in the end.’’

Next week, on Saturday 9th October 2021, Lions play Bury St Edmunds, at Westleigh Park, Blaby, with a 2.00 pm kick off.

Teams – Order 15-9, 1-8, 16-20
Guernsey: Joe Andresen, Anthony Anderson, Matthew Anderson, Ethan Smith, Callum Roberts, Owen Thomas, Charlie Simmonds, Sam Steventon, Thomas Ceillam, Jacob Weeding Pinkney, Bradley Webb, Hugo Culverhouse, Oscar Baird, Dominic Rice, Douglas Horrocks
Replacements: Ciaran McGann, Darrin Bellingham, Lewis Hillier, Daniel Rice, Charlie Currie
Leicester Lions: Alex WilHuckleberryson, Jake Sterland, Calum Harris, Joe Brock, Will Helliwell, Jack Vernum, Jonny Murdoch, Rhod McNaughton, Oli Taylor, Isaac Thompson, Toby Hutchinson, Will Ward, Simon Johnson, Jay Smith, Dan Martin
Replacements: George Taylor-Walker, Shaun Murray, Gareth Collins, James Hare, Andrew Murdoch




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