Latest League match report

21/04/18 Tigers 1st XV  23 - 10 Leicester Lions

Win secures N2N status for next season

Tigers needed to win this match to make sure that they stayed in National 2 next season on merit and did not have to rely on other results. Tigers kicked off into a strengthening wind. They immediately went on to the attack and after turning over the ball found themselves at the first scrum. With the familiar front row of Will Bennett, Tom Coates and Ed Simmons and the second row of Sam Ellis and Al Symcox ably supported by the dynamic back row of Lewis Bloor, Frank Wragg and Liam Wallace they showed their intent as they immediately pressured the visitors scrum. With only the occasional exception this was the way it went throughout the game with Tigers pressuring in the scrums and lineouts and the backs using the ball to attack. Good breaks by Greg Mellor, Jamie Broadley and Tom Hart put pressure on but Tigers just could not break through a solid Leicester defence. From one of the visitors rare attacks from a quickly taken penalty, the Leicester hooker broke through and was over the line before dropping the ball and giving Tigers the chance to clear. Another Leicester break down the wing saw Coates put in a crunching tackle that shook the wing to the core. To his credit he got up but did not look keen after that and, following a couple of dropped balls was substituted. Tigers, meanwhile, continued to pressure but faced a stubborn defence until a penalty after 25 minutes provided the opportunity for Mark Ireland to get the scoreboard moving and put the home side ahead 3 – 0 . This seemed to wake the Lions up and it was their turn to test out the Tigers defence. It stood up well but a missed tackle allowed the right wing to cross the line and just 5 minutes after taking the lead Tigers were 3 - 5 down. The restart saw Tigers pile on the pressure without much success until a break by Hart found Mellor in support and he powered through the defence to touch down. Ireland was at imperious best as he slotted over a difficult kick into the wind to make it 10 - 5. Tigers continued to attack with Broadley showing his power and determination as it took 4 men to bring him down. The score, however, remained at 10 - 5 as the half time whistle went.
The Lions came out for the second half and had clearly had a “talking to”. They started out with power and attacked Tigers trying to break down the solid defence. From a scrum Tigers pushed the opposition off the ball but found themselves penalised. The visitors attacked and although Tom Outram, playing his last home game before retiring, put in a great tackle the ball was shipped out to the outside centre who crossed the line for another unconverted try to make it 10 - 10. From the restart Tigers began to pressure winning both lineouts and scrums. From one powerful scrum Ryan Holmes gave the ball to Ireland who made ground before feeding Hart who found Broadley in support. He powered into the opposition and neatly fed the ball to Outram who looked to be heading for the line until he was brought down inside the 22. Another attack saw Broadley break through with Louis Taylor in support he continued the run and fed it back to Broadley who in turn tried to give it back to Taylor only for an intentional knock on to stop the attack. The penalty by Ireland sailed over and Tigers pulled ahead again 13 – 10. From the restart Symcox caught the ball which ended up in the hands of Ireland. From deep in his own half he put in a sublime kick that landed 6 inches in from touch on the opponents 22. Lions defended well and the next Tigers attack came on the wing when Symcox made a break and then cleverly kicked ahead only for the fullback to knock on and give away a 5m scrum. Tigers ended up with a penalty and Lions with a yellow card. Ireland duly kicked it to make it 16 - 10. Ross Thornton now came on for the indomitable Coates and Ben Sullivan replaced the hard-working Ellis. Tigers continued to pressure but could not break through. Broadley continued to make powerful runs but it took a charged down kick by Mellor which he followed up and touched down to put some clearwater between the teams. Ireland added the extras and 23 – 10 meant safety. The whistle went and the celebrations started.
With one game left - away to high flying Sedgley Park – Tigers are safely set for another season in National 2 North. Injuries over the last 6/7 weeks have put a real strain on the squad but they have all stepped up to the mark. Well done on Saturday with a powerful performance from all players. Our good wishes go to Louis Taylor who is moving to Manchester and we hope he has enjoyed his season with Tigers. He has certainly made an impression.

Scorers: Tries: Mellor (2)
Conversions: Ireland (2)
Penalties: Ireland (3)

Team: Bennett, Coates (Thornton), Simmons (Archer), Symcox Al, Ellis (Sullivan), Bloor, Wallace, Wragg, Holmes, Ireland, Mellor, Hart, Broadley, Taylor, Outram

Replacements:  Thornton, Archer, Sullivan, Pond, Duffy

Man of the match: Mark Ireland

Match Report: Graham Cockshutt