Clean Sweep For Lions As They Celebrate 26 Wins From 26 Games
|Author: Andy Key||Published: 27th April 2012 14:00|
Rugby Lions 52 - 8 Hinckley
Saturday 21st April 2012
The Rugby Lions roar lasted right to the end as they completed a superb all-win league season with an emphatic victory over a good Hinckley side in front of the biggest crowd of the season.
And one of the Rugby favourites, Ade Hales, gave the Lions fans what they wanted with two tries, the first of which took him past Eddie Saunders' record of 39 tries in a season with the legend himself on hand to witness the event with great pleasure.
Saunders is a new lifetime member of Rugby Lions and another all-time Rugby great was announced as a lifetime member at the Lunch with a Lion (Jeff Probyn) meal with Steve Brain very deservedly being honoured.
Add to all this a visit by Matt Hampson and an extra match for which sponsor Danny Cox of City Trust Dublin made generous donations to the Matt Hampson Trust and Wooden Spoon who both put out teams for the extra game plus Rugby FM broadcasting from The Lions Den and you have quite a day at Webb Ellis Road.
The game began with a fluent move that was completed by full back Adam Canning sweeping in under the clubhouse balcony and Leigh Hinton adding the conversion.
Hinckley lost a man to the sin-bin as the visitors struggled under the pressure Lions were exerting.
The second converted Rugby try came on 18 minutes, again from Canning with the crowd looking at Hales on the outside and also clear. But Canning was playing the game straight and did the right thing.
Hinckley at last began to get into the game and into Lions' half and they came away with a penalty by Ryan Oakes for 14-3.
Suddenly, Danny Wright pounced on a loose ball to make a great run before offloading to Will Brock, who completed the try on 27 minutes with Hinton's conversion making the score 21-3.
The pressure on the Hinckley defence was becoming relentless and they were conceding a whole series of penalties.
Finally, the referee signalled a penalty try which Hinton converted so Lions went into the half-time break 28-3 ahead and with the four-try bonus point secured.
Now the crowd did not have to wait long for their special moment.
On 44 minutes, a sweeping Lions move saw Emyr Lewis running for the tryline but he made the extra pass and there was Hales striding home like only he can to spark a whole-team celebration of this brilliant feat by one of the most popular of players.
Lions then made their three replacements simultaneously, bringing on Ben Nuttall, James Daniel and Harry Ellis before the hour mark.
A long lineout throw let Nigel Mukarati collect and send Ben Gollings away and his pass saw Hales collect his second try to make him equal top try scorer in league rugby this season.
Hinckley deserved their own try from Sam Southall after some sustained pressure but it was inevitably Rugby who were to have the final say.
Gollings' grubber bounced high for Ellis to catch and drop over the line for another try on 77 minutes.
And then the enthusiastic Daniel secured his first try at Lions, Hinton's sixth conversion completing the win and paving the way for hugely deserved celebrations among the playing, coaching and physio staff.
The Lions supporters have been delighted by the quality of rugby they have been shown this season and have responded by flocking to grounds home and away to show their appreciation and to affirm that Neil Back and everyone else involved have fully earned their phenomenal success.
Rugby Lions: Canning, Hinton, Lewis, Vilk, Hales, Gollings, Shore, Walton, Osleton, Adams, Raven, Wright, Tait, Brock, Mukarati. Reps: Nuttall, Daniel, Ellis