Initial Division 2 League Super Series
Walsall 29/30 October 2016
Yorkshire Lions opened their account as the newly promoted Wheelchair Rugby Team into Division 2 over the last weekend.
To say that the Lions’ first game was a ‘baptism of fire’ is a bit of an under statement as they drew Burn as their first opponents on the Saturday morning. Burn are definitely a class outfit in Division 2 and are predicted to be knocking on the door of winning the Division by the end of the season in 2017.
Burn Vs Lions
Despite a shaky start the Lions got into their stride and were not completely outclassed by Burn and began to make headway, although they couldn’t find an answer to the sheer experience of Burn. Despite the final score Lions were not embarrassed and showed signs of things to come as they develop this season.
Final Score Burn 56 Lions 36
Gloucester Vs Lions
The second game for Lions on the Saturday was against Gloucester and again the Lions showed immense spirit and at times during the game they were getting on top of their quality opponents. But too many points were ‘given’ away by Lions, but this is simply inexperience. Watching them play one can sometimes feel that they are not so much being beaten – but rather giving the game to the opposition. This will undoubtedly improve as the season progresses.
Final Score Gloucester 57 Lions 42
Hawks Vs Lions
The final game of the first day was against Hawks. Little was known about them as the Coaching Staff and the Team had not seen them play before. This game turned out to be a cracker with end to end play for long periods and neither team willing to give ground. Quite obviously the teams were both tiring after this their third game of the day, but both kept tight and battled hard. Ultimately Hawks prevailed and won the game, but it was hard won and the Lions had acquitted themselves well. It could even be argued that had there been another quarter the Lions would have won.
Final Score Hawks 60 Lions 56
Ospreys Vs Lions
Sunday morning and the cross over games to identify final places for this Super Series meant that Lions had drawn Ospreys (Cardiff) and there was no doubt prior to the game that the Lions were up for the challenge. Again the game was intense and Lions were beginning to put the plays they have spent weeks developing, into action. Lions allowed them to get away by a few points in the second quarter of the game and subsequently found the shortfall too much to overhaul, despite winning the second half of the game and eventually Lions lost by an agonising few points.
Final Score Ospreys 44 Lions 41
Lions Vs Crushers
The final game on the Sunday was against an old adversary of the Lions as they were playing Crushers (Glasgow). Followers will be aware that the Crushers also came up from Division 3 last Season and that the Lions have never lost to them. Coach McDerby therefore issued strict orders to the Team, “I want this game won by half time and I do not want you to let them score more an 20 points”! These instructions were issued so that the Coach could then play the bench; the players that perhaps do not get as much court time playing, but are nevertheless integral to the whole squad. Lions played extremely well and were able to execute many training court moves to perfect them in-game. Lions did win out and the Coaches instructions were delivered upon, meaning that the Lions are not bottom of Division 2 after the first League event.
Final Score Lions 54 Crushers 18
Overall the Lions played very well over the course of the weekend and more than deserve their place in Division 2. There were many positives to take away and it is obvious that the work Coach McDerby is doing with them is paying off. Equally there were many things to improve but this was always going to be the case with a squad that have only played a handful of competitive games. Many of the Teams in Division 2 have ex-Great Britain players within their ranks and their teams have played hundreds of games. But the most important fact is that watching the Lions – all of the required ingredients are there, once it all begins to gel together, then success will be achieved.
Some pictures from the event: