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04 September 2022

IAN RIGG Victoria Park, Saturday.

A stunning comeback after a shaky start helped the Lions to a seven try victory over the Crusaders at an impressive venue in front of a large passionate crowd for which the Lions fans seemed to just tip the balance and they cheered their side to victory. Crusaders played with the slight wind behind them in the first half and took the lead in only the third minute when Benn Hardcastle launched a high kick and as Dan Abram ran to collect it the bounce took it backwards towards the advancing Pat Ah Van and he scored on the right with Tommy Johnson adding the conversion. From the restart the Lions lost control of the ball, and this put Crusaders back on the attack and once again the made the Lions pay when Reece Briers sent a kick towards the corner and Oliver Brookes was fastest to react and collect the ball to score in the corner with Johnson again on target with the boot. Nick Gregson opened the Lions account in the eleventh minute when Louis Brogan went close and from the play the ball, he found the gap on the left to dive over but Abram could not convert. Try of the match came two minutes later when Lewis Hatton collected the restart near his own line and was tackled on the twenty but from the play the ball hooker Matty Wilkinson took the ball and found a gap in the Crusaders defence to race seventy metres to score by the posts at the other end leaving defenders in his wake and Abram converted. The Next Lions try came quickly when Johnson knocked on in his own twenty and the attack was on the Crusaders line again and this saw Lewis Else crash over taking three defenders with him to score but Abram struck the posts with this conversion attempt while Else was helped from the field with a leg injury. Crusaders had some good chances with the ball, but silly handing errors kept letting them down and Brad Holroyd for the Lions and Brookes for Crusaders both had chances before the Lions scored again six minutes from the break when Jordan Case went over by the posts and Abram converted to give his side an eight-point advantage at the break.

The Lions continued to press the Crusaders line right from the start of the second half and forced two goal line drop outs in the first six minutes and the second one almost provided a try for Mike Butt but good defence managed to knock him in touch, he did though get over the line on fifty-five minutes when he won a one on one ball steal to race half the length of the field with Briers in pursuit to score on the right and Abram converted. Rob Massam tried to get his side on the board going for the left corner on sixty-three minutes but lost control of the pass and two minutes later it was the Lions that were in again after some excellent built up by Wilkinson and he managed to get Deane Meadows over by the posts and Abram converted again. Massam then had another chance but again with the same result a lost ball after what looked a wild pass to the left. The final Lions try was another long range one with this time Jack Hansen breaking seventy metres from his own line before handing onto the supporting Brad Holroyd who scored by the posts and again the conversion was good. Callum Hazzard was sent to the sin bin by referee Matt Rossleigh with six minutes left for a push off the tackle, but it was already job done for the Lions and a deserved week off for them.



  1 Tommy Johnson

17 Oliver Brookes

  2 Pat Ah Van

  4 Jack Holmes

  5 Rob Massam

14 Reece Briers

  7 Benn Hardcastle

  8 Callum Hazzard

  6 Brad Billsborough

10 Jack Houghton

11 Gav Rodden

12 Alex Eckley

13 Matt Fletcher

Subs (all used)

  9 Paul Nash

15 Brad Brennan

26 Aaron Hall

20 Matt Reid

Tries: Ah Van (3), Brookes (6)

Goals: Johnson 2/2

Sin-bin: Hazzard (76) Dissent


  1 Dan Abram

31 Brad Holroyd

     Max Roberts

11 Rhodri Lloyd

  2 Mike Butt

  6 Lewis Else

  7 Jack Hansen

16 Louis Brogan

14 Matty Wilkinson

10 Lewis Hatton

12 Mitch Cox

13 Nick Gregson

25 Lewis Charnock

Subs (all used)

23 Jordan Case

17 Jack Spencer

18 Paddy Jones

20 Deane Meadows

Tries: Gregson (11), Wilkinson (13), Else (17), Case (34), Butt (55), Meadows (65), Holroyd (71)

Goals: Abram 5/7

Penalties: 5-6 Half-time: 12-20

Referee:   Matt Rossliegh Attendance:  751

SCORING SECQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 12-4, 12-10, 12-14, 12-20, 12-26, 12-32, 12-38.


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