Broadstreet Rugby Football Club pulled off another late comeback to register an emphatic 31 – 15, sixth in a row, maximum points, victory against a battling Leicester Lions at the Ivor Preece Field, thereby securing a place in National League Two for next season, at the third attempt; having previous tasted straight relegation following promotion in seasons 2003 and 2009 writes Bob Harcourt.
Having pulled off an unlikely win at Otley in the last eight minutes two weeks ago, ‘Street again left their best until last, in a mostly unspectacular contest, troubled throughout by individual mistakes and indecision by both sets of players, admittedly in slippery, windy, conditions. Lions forwards troubled ‘Street’s eight early doors, with some aggressive scrummaging and breakdown play; forcing slow ball and handling errors by the home side, thankfully matched by ‘Street’s dogged defence, which similarly frustrated Lions first half ascendancy when they were playing with the wind as the visitors failed to take a scoreboard advantage.
Lions' early pressure earned them Jonathan Boden penalty points after ten minutes; Broadstreet 0 Lions 3; and continued possession and territory saw hooker Oliver Taylor touch down at the back of a lineout drive with 23 minutes played; Broadstreet 0 Lions 8. The visitors continued to dominate and ‘Street continued to defend mightily. Add frequent bouts of inaccurate handling by both teams and the ‘silence of the fans’ said it all!
Half Time: Broadstreet 0 Leicester Lions 8.
In the second half play continued with more of the same, before ‘Street gained some decent possession and forced a Lions penalty. From the resulting forward assault, lock Matthew Solomon made the grounding and Ben Palmer added the extras to reduce arrears to Broadstreet 7 Lions 8 with half an hour to play. However, it took Lions just five minutes to cancel out the score, as a similar passage of play saw number eight Robert Young take his turn for five points and Boden kicked the wide out conversion for Broadstreet 7 Lions 15.
Ten minutes later ’Street were back in touch through a Jefferey Gregson try, after ‘Street’s best passage of play opened up the Lion’s defence. Ben Palmer converted to close the score to Broadstreet 14 Lions 15 and then, three minutes on, the trusty boot of Palmer edged his side into the lead for the first time - Broadstreet 17 Lions 15 with thirteen minutes left on the clock.
Then, not for the first time this season, some Murray magic! Tracking back into ‘Street’s half, centre - cum - scrum half Andrew Murray retrieved Lion’s kick ahead and turned to produce a moment of magic to light up a dull game. His pacy, tricky ‘slalom’ through the Lion’s flailing defence was a delight and broke the visitor’s tiring resistance, as he dotted down untouched between the posts. Ben Palmer slotted an easy two point conversion and home hearts were warmed in the knowledge that at Broadstreet 24 Lions 15, the visitors needed to score twice in less than ten minutes to win the match. As it was, ‘Street pushed on, raised the bar and within minutes ran in another converted try following some excellent phase play, to put replacement Beau Carney on a run to within ten metres of the Lion’s line. When held, the dexterous Carney popped an off-load over his head into the hands of wing replacement Nathan Tilsley; who had taken up an excellent support line, for him to streak through the struggling defence with only six minutes left to play. Although the re-start took place, for some unaccountable reason, the match ended four minutes early with no further scoring.
Full Time: Broadstreet 31 Leicester Lions 15.
Thought for The Game:
The win at Otley, barring a remotely possible cruel twist of fate, secured ‘Street’s continuance in National League Two Rugby and after the doom and gloom of early season defeats, one can see that this match was, therefore, not of great significance in the survival stakes, but, good teams; good players, do not allow capitulation to creep into their mind-set. Bloody-minded ruthlessness is what stands the best out from the rest! The fact that we can defend for seventy minutes and then turn up the burners to snatch victory from defeat, indicates determination of the sort needed to play on ‘til the rotund lady sings!
A Job done lads! But, let’s never countenance the slightest capitulation, lest it become a habit!
SQUAD: Ben Cooper; Jefferey Gregson, Andrew Murray, James Otutaha, Josh Palmer; Ben Palmer, Nicholas Thatcher; Joe Foreman, Stewart Pearl, Jake Dodd; Aaron Crofts, Matthew Solomon; Gareth Turner, Jamie Harrop, Jack Gibbons. Henry Sandys, Michael Worthington, Christopher Wood, Beau Carney, Nathan Tilsley.