Lyd lose narrowly at the finish
Southwest Premier Division league leaders Dings Crusaders visited Regentsholme and were always in the driving seat from the outset. After early Lydney pressure the visitors were soon to stamp their authority and as the game developed it become evident why Dings were holding the top spot in the league. A series of early territorial exchanges led supporters to believe that there was little difference between the two sides and were well matched. Dings finally broke the deadlock with a well worked try by Marcus Brooker – with fly half Ben Bolster narrowly missing the conversion. The visitors then increased their lead some 5 minutes later when a series of successive attacks towards the Lydney line resulted in the away team scoring their second try by Mike Smith .The away team’s Ben Bolster added the conversion.
The Lydney team, despite their hard work and spirited defence play, finally enabled Dings to exploit the gaps in their defence. A series of missed tackles allowed the Ding’s fullback, Tom Knight, to side step & glide through several of the Lydney players to score their third unconverted try .With ten minutes of the first half remaining, the score stood at 0 - 17.
Despite the visitors applying even more pressure upon their opponents, Lydney’s desire to fight back was never in doubt. With 5 minutes to go before the interval Lydney rallied strongly and their over exuberance resulted in one of their numbers being sin binned for stamping. Dings replied with a well executed rolling maul enabling Joe Hawksley to cross Lydney’s line for the fourth time with Ben Bolster adding the conversion. At the half time whistle Lydney were left with the onerous second half task of reducing the 0 – 24 score line and used the interval for respite and the opportunity to re- think their second half strategy in order to avoid the largest home defeat of the season!
Much to the delight of Lydney’s loyal & vocal supporters, the second half proved to be a much different story.
Dings admittedly regained their early first half dominance and, within the first 5 minutes of the re-start, the visitor’s fly half and full back kicked intelligently into Lydney’s open spaces. The Dings three quarter line wasted no time in showing the home supporters their ability to handle and run incisively deep into Lydney territory on several occasions. They remained encamped on Lydney’s line for almost ten minutes .Despite relentless pressure, the Lydney defence held out and it was at this point that the home team began to regain some composure and inventiveness! Lydney regained possession and after a bout of positive handling and thrustful running which included both three quarters & forwards, captain Sam Arnott dived over the visitors line to score Lydney’s first try.Fly half Dave OHagen added the conversion reducing the score line to 7 – 24.With 11 minutes to go, the Lydney fight back lost momentum as one of their forwards was stretchered off the field.
As the game resumed, Lydney further reduced the deficit with winger Josh Hannam scoring an impressive try in the 75th minute.Dave OHagen added the conversion.
At this point onwards, and for the first time in the game, Lydney began to threaten Dings giving supporters a glimmer of hope. Had there been more time remaining on the clock, a losers bonus point was a distinct possibility or even a remarkable draw. With the clock running down, the home team put everything into the game placing the league leaders under real pressure! So much so was the home team’s desire to restore their pride, Joe McLeen crashed over the opponent’s line to add a further 5 points to the Lydney score line. Immediately at the re-start, the visitors, for the first time, appeared anxious. This gave the visitors the impetus to offer a late rally which put the score well beyond doubt. Dings added their final score with Alistair Doonbar scoring and the consistent Ben Bolster adding the conversion.
The outcome of this encounter, though suffering yet another home defeat, exemplified Lydney’s determination and relentless spirit. Their second half display turned, what might have been a home match hammering ( from a very strong side) into a respectable home defeat.
The final score 19 – 31
Report by Gerald Love