Lions use powerpack but Tigers use width for victory

Sedgley Park Tigers beat Leicester Lions 28-17
Sedgley Park Tigers beat Leicester Lions 28-17


Leicester Lions 17 (0)
Sedgley Park 28 (4)

Sedge travelled south battered and bruised from last week’s encounter against high flyers Ampthill, to Westleigh the home of Leicester Lions; who not only pummelled Sedge last time out but were in top form having just beaten Ampthill.

Last week’s trip to Ampthill saw Sedge lose. The first half was very even, the scrum being evenly fought and the backs negating each other. However, the second half was a master class in the line out and driving maul from the Ampthill pack. The Lions  use a similar game plan so it was with some trepidation that the Tigers supporters gathered around the pitch.

The Sedgley website seemed to mirror this saying that today's game was all about character and commitment and right from the off Sedge seemed to have both commodities in spades. However, the Sedge scrum no longer has the power house second row of Lloyd and McGowan and with Oli Parkinson injured it was a lightweight Sedge pack that faced up to the huge Lions pack.

The Lions scrum was heavy and aggressive but despite this they were not able to dominate. The Tigers scrum fought with intelligence and technique.

The ever reliable @sedgetiger saw it like this “the first points came from quick attacking play from Sedge and lazy defence at the breakdown from Lions as Matt Riley kicked the early points to take a six point lead on 8 and 13 minutes.”

Throughout this game the referee showed high levels of consistency which is a real plus for National 2. There were a number of occasions were the decisions were not easily understood by players, coaches or crowd. The first example was a yellow card to Devon Constant, However, down to 14 men; the Lions played some of their best rugby and went onto the front foot with a great run down the left flank by the winger who was stopped short. From the re-cycled ball which was strung across the Tigers 22 until Lions flanker, John Murdoch saw a gap to run un-opposed between the posts for the first try of the game on 19 minutes.

@sedgetiger saw the Sedge team looking dangerous on both flanks and reported: "Sedge had looked dangerous in the opening periods with Chris Wilkinson pulling the strings and winger Curtis Strong looking dangerous all game so if last week’s game looked like a containment effort, this week could this be switched to attack?”

After 30 minutes Ben Black and Juan Crous were replaced by Tigers. The second row was manned by the Smith Brothers and Jack Warrington at tight head. Warrington is making his way back into rugby and stepping up at tighthead rather than his normal loosehead looked a huge risk.

The Tigers pack dug in and Warrington made a strong line break. The Lions tackling falling off easily as he broke the Lions defence at will, creating gaps for others to benefit from. In this case it was a run down the right hand flank by Matt Riley supported well by Richard Wainwright that saw Tigers heading for the line. Desperate defence kept them out but on hand was Matt Lamprey who snaffled the ball and bundled over the line for Tigers first try on 33 minutes.


As the teams ran out for the 2nd half, inspirational Tiger’s captain Juan Crous had returned to the game. The Lions now had the wind at their backs and looked confident. "The Lions pack started the second half strongly but Sedge contained the scrum threat very well as technique came to the fore as Tigers blunted the Lions big weapon," was @sedgetiger’s view.

It was Lions who opened the scoring with an early penalty on 43 minutes kicked by Dan Burke.

"With the scrum threat gone Sedge used their heads on and off the field and with ball in hand two big breaks by first Rhys Davies found support from willing runners to eventually whip the ball out wide for Curtis Strong to run in the first of his two tries on 47 minutes.

"Straight from the re-start Sedgley gasman and man of the match Curtis Strong made a good 'strong' run leaving his tacklers in his wake finishing his brace of tries off in style on 49 minutes. Matt Riley kicked the conversion," reported @sedgetiger

"If the Tigers running game was relentless the Tigers off field thinking game too was superb as nine rolling replacements were used brilliantly and at the correct time and once again as the game closed big Jack Warrington came on and broke the Lions will."

The Lion’s coaching team will have been frustrated at the number of missed tackles.

However good teams don't lie down and Lions kept at it and a good breakout by the very impressive Lions number 8 Robert Young who went over on 59 minutes could have been a rallying point.

There were a couple of other Lions forays into the Tigers 22, one once again orchestrated by the Lions number 8 Rob Young as he burst out of of his own 22 drawing the tackler then with a sublime out of the back of the hand flick pass he brought in his winger which unfortunately came to nothing.

So there was not to be any last minute rally for the home side as Tigers bossed out the final stages with a Matt Riley penalty kick to put the icing on the cake.

The Sedge wingers were able to find space and create chances throughout the game and this was an outstanding game for Curtis Strong. His partner, Andy Riley showed excellent instinct and was able to interpret the windy conditions to constantly run the ball back at the Lions.

Match Referee: Jack Makepeace
Man of the Match: Curtis Strong
Attendance: 109

National League Rugby