Dragons lose out in final of Midland 9;s
Coventry Dragons produced a near perfect performance on their home turf after reaching the final but falling just short in the final match.
With the Dragons having never entered a 9's tournament, it was going to be a steep learning curve for the hosts. The Dragons first opponents were Loughborough Uni, a team full of youthful exuberance that moved the ball wide from the outset. It was a tit for tat affair with both sides striking from deep before the Dragons got their noses in front and were able to hang on for the win.
Dragons were next up against Telford Raiders with the home side taking all the confidence from their first round win, the opening score went to Coventry. The Dragons kept their foot on the gas and looked safe for the entire game and won by a couple of tries. The final game in the group saw a the first match-up against local rivals Coventry Warriors. It was a tight affair and the free flowing rugby of the Dragons first two games seemed to evade them, reducing the plays into a tight and direct game. With a minute remaining the hosts were 2 points behind and only a superb individual try earned the Dragons a whitewash in the group stages.
Telford Raiders were the semi-final opposition and the Dragons put behind them the narrow, direct rugby of the previous match and opened up into wide, expansive footy. This brand of league was to much for Telford to handle with the Dragons scoring from deep and running in 4 tries to 1 winners and book their place in the final.
The Dragons development side were in the other side of the draw and were performing with relish, scoring some fine tries in their first game and moving the ball about like a team who had played together for years. With a first round win, they looked to top the group but came unstuck against a well drilled side that would eventually top the group and lose in the semi to Loughborough Uni. It was a fine day from the development squad and many will believe that their performances warranted inclusion in the representative side.
It was another team the Dragons had already been victorious over in the group stages that awaited them in the final and the hosts were under no illusions that this was merely a done deal. Loughborough Uni started at break neck pace scoring two tries in a matter of minutes and forcing a strong response from Coventry. Dragons drew level with minutes remaining only for a long kick from deep, early in the set, meant a foot race to retrieve the ball. With the Uni side's superior pace, they got their first and gathered to go in under the posts to score the decisive points and take the tournament.
Coventry dragons Head Coach said "I'm hugely impressed with how the guys did today, we rotated the squad throughout every game and players bought into how we went about attacking the tournament. To a man they were superb and worked as a team to build sets and ultimately give individuals' opportunities to show their abilities in one-on-one situations. Defence was immense and we only came undone in the final against some long kicks from deep that their superior pace was able to capitalize on. The fact that we were able to put two side out shows how well we are progressing and the second team put in a couple of top performance, only losing once".