Boro silence Lions roar
By Matt Armstrong
Week 10 and a visit to Rugby
This week saw Boro travel to Rugby Lions, Boro were looking to bounce back after a disappointing defeat whilst Rugby Lions were looking to push on towards the top part of the table. This week saw Adam Fuller make his first start after returning from the lower divisions and that was the only change in the pack! In the back line Connor Riley returned at scrum half after injury which meant a reshuffle with Steven Gall moving to the wing and Andy Seaton to full back. At outside centre an injured Harry Bryan was replaced by his Spanish brother Tom Bryan. The bench saw two changes with Billy Hyman returning and Aiden McAvoy make his first appearance with the 1st XV.
The first half saw Rugby Lions kick off and an early knock on saw a scrum took place, Boro's front row soon pushed back the Lions front row but the Lions managed to get the ball away and construct their first attack which saw the ball kicked deep and then carried over resulting in a scrum 5m out. This time the Boro scrum drove and demolished the Lions front row and were awarded a penalty. Boro soon put an attack together themselves and Kieran Checkley was put into space, however, his kick downfield was well fielded by the Lions winger who beat a number of defenders and got the Lions team on the front foot. This positive play was soon rewarded as the Lions winger scored in the corner after some good offloading from the Lions backline (RL 7v0 Boro) The game was certainly fractious with both teams competing strongly at the breakdown and inevitably this overspilled with Matt Ellson sent to the sin bin along with the Lions 10.
Boro's defence was being called into question but a big hit by Ryan Mackie sent a Lions defender back 10 yards, however, Boro couldn't get their hands on the ball but the game descended into a number of mistakes meaning that no team could get a foothold. Boro's scrum was still dominating at the set piece and one scrum saw Kieran Checkley put into space again but some good covering defence saw no reward This was shortlived as a mis-match was identified and a well placed kick from Ryan Mackie saw a foot race between Kieran Checkley and a Lions prop, the prop obstructed Kieran Checkley from scoring and the penalty try was awarded bringing Boro level (RL 7v7 Boro). It was the Lions who reacted quicker to the score and soon scored a try of their own under the posts to retake the lead (RL 14v7 Boro), and with half time within sight the Lions were awarded a penalty shot which was converted (RL 17v7 Boro).
Rugby Lions 17 v 7 Wellingborough
After the half time chat, it was Boro who started the stronger, this time it was Andy Seaton who took the ball on at pace and got behind the Lions defence, the ball was retained and it was the Lions who offended allowing Pete Vickers a shot at goal which was duly scored (RL 17v10 Boro). The game was ebbing and flowing and it took some strong work at the breakdown from Matt Ellson to prevent a score and allow Boro to use the penalty to edge into the Lions half. Boro now started to get some ball and due to some good clearing work at rucks it meant that the ball could be moved quickly, this allowed a break on the blindside and an offload saw Chris Shipman make a break, some good cover tackling slowed him down but Ben Morton-Bright had tracked his run and he gathered the ball at pace and burst through a tackle before sprinting under the posts for a try, although the conversion was missed (RL 17v15 Boro).
Boro were now in the ascendancy and started to make yards around the Lions fringes with Shaun Mackie and Tom Bryan carrying the ball through tackles, Joel Smith was proving a nuisance at rucks and was rewarded with penalty which was within range, Pete Vickers did the honours and Boro took the lead for the first time (RL 17v18 Boro). A couple of missed tackles soon allowed the Lions back into the Boro half and a maul from a lineout saw them head towards the Boro line but some strong defence held them out , Boro were caught offside which allowed the Lions to take the lead (RL 20v18 Boro). The game was now finally balanced, and another break down the blindside saw Aiden McAvoy break free before passing to Kieran Checkley but the Lions defence had scrambled back to prevent the score. Boro now upped their tempo in defence and in attack and were working hard at the breakdown and in the tackle, every player was putting their body on the line and some strong defence saw the Lions attack held up in a maul. Boro soon had their chance to take the lead with 5 minutes to go but the 45yard kick at goal by Pete Vickers fell short, however, the clearance from the Lions didn't go to plan and they were caught offside from the kick back allowing Pete Vickers another shot from just outside the 22 but to the right of the posts. Pete Vickers stepped up and although the strike wasn't the cleanest it sailed between the uprights to give Boro a 1 point lead (RL 20v21 Boro) with 77mins on the clock. Boro gathered the kick off and took hold of possession gradually working their way slowly up the field, however, bodies eventually ran out as the competition was fierce at the ruck so Pete Vickers took a well struck drop goal shot which agonisingly fell short but went dead. The 22 drop out was well fielded by Boro and after two quick rucks Connor Riley put the ball out for a good win.
Rugby Lions 20 v 21 Wellingborough
What a win, it would be nice for the team to win comfortably for once as its proving quite stressful watching from the sideline!! The win meant a lot to the team and you could see it in the smiles after the final whistle.
Over the seasons we quite often come across quite sizable teams, and although we aren't the biggest this team certainly makes up for it with a lot of heart and a lot of skill, and I know that the coaching team and the supporters certainly appreciate that along with a sense of pride in this team especially when you see how many players have come through the junior ranks at the club.
One of the big differences between this season and others is the ability to drag the win from what looks like a loss and that its a team effort from 1 to 18 with everyone giving their all, Saturday proved no difference with the bench being called on quite early with injuries to key players. Next week sees a game under the lights on Friday so Tuesday training is crucial, there's no reason why the 1st XV can't win every game up to Xmas!