The 3rd XV Make a Strong Start to the Season Against Dover
By Steve Castle
The 3rd's started their league campaign at home against Dover 3rd's on Saturday
The team had a good mix of young and old players. As part of the Clubs Try Pink charity day in aid of Breast Cancer Now the Lions wore pink socks. There was a good level of support along the touch line and with the weather good and the pitch soft underfoot the scene was set for a good open and expansive game of rugby.
The earlier exchanges were evenly matched with each side testing out their opposition. There was not much separating the packs at scrum time with both teams winning their own put in.
The Line-out was eveningly matched, with Dover choosing to go for the 5 man shorter line up on a number of occasions. John Stabler playing at No 8 made repeated strong barraging runs to get the Lions on the front foot and was drawing in a number of defenders before being brought down. Ball was being recycled well and with Ethan Wilson at No 9, not only playing his first game for the Lions but his first ever game of rugby, was shipping the ball well to Jason Clarke at 10 or showing his lightning pace to break the gain line and give the Lions further advantage with Dover having to scramble defence.
The Lions seemed to have a hunger for gaining supremacy right from the first whistle. The Lions when in defence made strong tackles and competed well at the breakdown either turning over ball or ensuring Dover were hampered in getting quick ball at to their young backs.
The Lions continued their strong running game finding holes in the Dover defence right across the park. It wasn't long before the Lions started to get points on the scoreboard with Ethan Wilson playing at 9 who got the first of his 5 try's. Confidence was growing as the minutes ticked past. Andy Seaman was jumping well in the line out ,winning all of the Lions throw ins as well as a number of the oppositions . One facet of the line out that was working well for the Lions was winning good clean ball to set up a number of driving mauls gaining a number of meters before spinning the ball out to the backs to continue the attack.
The pack at scrum time were gaining supremacy with Nick Tweed hooking well to ensure good ball received at the base of the scrum for either John Stabler to pick up and go or Ethan to get the backs into play.
The Lions were continuing to put points on the board with try after try. Dave Powell had a good game playing in the second row with a number of strong runs which again sucked in the defence to bring him to a standstill leaving space to exploit.
The Lions were guilty on a few occasions in not getting support to the breakdown which either mean't turn over ball or penalty awarded for not releasing on the ground.
Adam Topping and Will Farnes ,making up the front row, were ensuring the scrum was another positive area of the game with a number of metres gained or penalties awarded when the opposition were accused of collapsing.
Tom Sanderson at Flanker ,playing his first game for the Lions, was proving a handful for the opposition all afternoon with strong attack play and putting his body on the Line in defence. He appeared to cover every inch of the field.
Gary Simpson and Chris Jacobs were covering the wings well in both attack and especially defence when Dover had to revert to a wider attack game. Garrett Gorman and Joe continued the trend when they came on off the bench.
Neil Gault playing at full back was strong under the high ball and was effective in counter attacking after Dover kicked for territory.
Jack Parker playing at outside centre was strong in attack. The Lions who were deemed to have an unassailable lead half way through the second half brought on their substitutes. One forced change occurred when Tight Head Prop Adam Topping had to go off with a leg strain. Credit should be paid to Gary Simpson for stepping into to play at Tight Had prop for the remainder of the game. Credit should also go to Taylor Phillips who played for the opposition in the second half when they were short.With fresh legs Billy Parker made a number of good attacking runs.
Dover scored a consultation try late on in the game. After being awarded a penalty for a tackle judged to be high Dover took a quick tap and spun the ball out wide where the Lions defence was missing.
One notable event in the dying minutes of the game occurred when Dover were on the attack deep into the Lions half. A pass that would of seen a clear try scoring opportunity for Dover was intercepted by Lions winger Chris Jacobs. With clear space in front ,but with a number of Dover players trying to chase him down, he ran from the Lions 5 metre line to score a try under the posts. The remaining 14 Lions players gave Chris their full support by clapping him all the way.
As seen from the above report with respect to mentioning so many of the Lions players this was truly a team performance from 1 through to 18.
Although the report is biased towards the Lions it should be mentioned that Dover were no pushover. This was by far not an easy game and credit should be given to the Dover team for not allowing their heads to drop and played good rugby right upto the final whistle.
The Lions 3rd XV Team
1 Adam Topping
2 Nicholas Tweed
3 William Garner
4 Dave Powell
5 Steve Castle
6 Tom Sanderson
7 Andy seaman
8 John Stabler
9 Ethan Wilson
10 Jason Clarke
11 Gary Simpson
12 Will Wilson
13 Jack Parker
14 Chris Jacobs
15 Neil Gault
Irish Garrett Gorman