LIONS AND BULLS SHARE THE SPOILS IN THRILLING ENCOUNTER
15 July 2019
A last-minute try from the Bulls saw a share of the spoils at Odsal Stadium
A thrilling encounter at Odsal Stadium ended in a 34-34 draw as both the Lions and the Bulls saw a share of the spoils.
What a great advert for Championship Rugby League!
The Lions went into the game with nothing to lose and all week Bulls coach John Kear had been in the press telling everyone how dangerous Stuart Littler’s side are, but it became obvious that some of his players did not heed the warnings as the Lions could easily have won the game but in the end this pulsating game finished all square.
The Lions made an excellent start when at the end of the first set Harry Smith kicked an excellent forty-twenty and from the play the ball the pressure was on the Bulls line and some great passing across the line saw Richard Lepori dive over in the corner for his first Lions try, but Jack Hansen could not convert from the touchline.
Bulls tried to hit back after a Lions handling error but an excellent tackle by Rob Fairclough on Jy Hitchcox sent him flying into touch as he dived for the corner and then on the next set the Bulls had Jon Magrin looked like he was going to score by the posts but a gang tackle by the Lions defence held him up and the chance went.
More pressure on the Bulls line from Swinton forced Ethan Ryan dead in goal and from the goal line drop out the Lions made them pay when Gavin Bennion scored under the posts and Hansen added the conversion.i
It got better a couple of minutes later when Samy Kibula broke through to feed Craig Mullen and he tipped the ball on to the supporting Matty Ashton, who drew the fullback and sent Harry Smith away to score under the posts and Hansen again made no mistake with the conversion in front of the small but noisy band of Lions fans.
Bulls had another great chance on twenty minutes but another great tackle on Elliot Michella held him up also over the line and Liam Kirk argued with referee Cameron Worsley and he was sent to the sin bin.
James Webster really should have scored six minutes later as he went for the right corner but lost control as he went for the line but they did get over on the next set when Sam Hallas sent Matt Garside over for their opening try and Joe Keyes converted.
The Lions came storming back again when Hitchcox knocked on from the kick off and from the scrum pressure Smith chipped to the corner and Ashton won the race to touchdown and again Hansen converted to give his side a sixteen point lead. Bulls came strong in the final minutes of the half forcing the Lions into errors and a couple of penalties and Brandon Pickersgill and Webster both crossed for tries and Keyes converted both but the Lions held a four point advantage at the break.
It was a tough start to the second half for the Lions being placed on a team warning in the opening minutes and then the referee lost his patience and sent Lewis Hatton to the sin bin for obstruction and the Bulls almost scored from the penalty but a great tackle by Ashton stopped Ross Oakes from going in at the corner.
Having ridden the early pressure from the Bulls, the Lions stretched their lead when a measured pass from Smith sent Kibula over on the right for his first Lions try and Hansen converted again to restore a ten point advantage. Bulls hit back on the hour when Jordan Lilley caught the Lions defence sleeping to go over from short range and Keyes converted and it was game on again.
Matthew Storton put the Bulls ahead for the first time seven minutes later when he scored on the left and Keyes converted and with seven minutes left a big fight started when Webster didn’t agree with Paddy Jones’s tackle and during this big skirmish Lepori also got involved and was caught punching by the officials and he was given a red card and Webster and Jones both got yellows.
The Lions were not giving up despite being down to eleven men and with five minutes left they were on the attack just near half way and an excellent reverse pass from Hansen sent Ashton through a gap and he got free with only Pickersgill to beat and he sent him the wrong way and raced away to score under the posts with Hansen adding the goal points.
This sparked the Bulls into action and with just thirty seconds left former Lion Connor Farrell finished off a move to score in the right corner to level the scores but Keyes who had been perfect with the boot could not win the game with the final kick of the match after the hooter had sounded and the game finished all square.
Ian Rigg reporting from Odsal Stadium.
Bulls: Pickersgill, Ryan, Webster, Oakes, Hitchcox, Keyes, Lilley, Magrin, Wildie, Kirk, Garside, Farrell, Minchella.
Subs: Hallas, Storton, Doyle, Peltier.
Tries: Garside (29′), Pickersgill (36′), Webster (39′), Lilley (60′), Storton (67′), Farrell (80′)
Goals: Keyes 5/6
Lions: Hansen, Lepori, Lloyd, Mullen, Ashton, Smith, Fairclough, Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton, Halton, Kibula, P.Jones.
Subs: Brickhill, Moore, Morris, Kenga.
Tries: Lepori (1), Bennion (12), Smith (14), Ashton (32,75), Kibula (52)
Goals: Hansen 5/6
Referee: Cameron Worsley
HT: 18-22 FT: 34-34
Photo credits: Emily Parker