If you are reading this, be happy… for right now is a wonderfully joyous time to be a rugby fan deriving from the town of the games birthplace, writes Player Coach Rob Dignum!
First up, before I get all caught up in emotion and gratification, a very well done from all at Lions to Phil Reed and his Newbold on their deserved promotion. This they have been building toward for some time, a fine rugby club brimming with a solid infrastructure allowing all sides to be strong, they deserve their success.
And onto us and all things Lions… what a weekend! If it is alright with you, going to allow myself a quick moment of shameless vanity?! Saturday was my 100th Lions 1st team game, as such I was afforded the opportunity to run out with my three children, a proud day for me; I am still wearing a silly happy grin now!
In my four seasons as a Lion, bit of a naff cliché I know, but it has most definitely been a rollercoaster of a ride! The extreme highs of working with some fantastic people, National Cup runs, four promotions, a proud 95% wining rate and perhaps the greatest achievement, being part of a huge team of folk that have helped revive this wonderful rugby club from a starting point of nothing. These feelings of elation intertwined with a few bipolar-type (personal and club) lows; surgeries, broken ankle in National semi final to not play at HQ, final minute interception loss following season again just seconds from Twickers and of course none lower than the dreadful departure of my mate of three decades, fellow Player Coach Rob Walton.
A year and a half on, I know he was watching down on a splendid looking Webb Ellis Road and proudly raising a glass at the goings on at the weekend. Post match, he was very much in our thoughts, in a just world there would have been two of us, again stood side by side collecting a 100 game gold Lions tie.
The game kicked off in glorious sunshine, the opposition Dunlop RFC. Lions quickly got into their stride. Words like heroic, proud, determined, full of heart were heard all round the ground… these words all to describe Dunlop. As I mentioned around Christmas when we travelled to them, they have been handed a rough deal, their coach clearing off with half the squad at the start of the season. Since then, they have turned out every week and done themselves and the club proud, epitomising all that is wonderful about our sport, the greatest game on Earth.
Happily, for Lions supporters, we were at our ruthless best running out 134-12 victors. Dunlop were proud throughout and took a great deal of breaking down, the biggest cheer of the day saved for the final try that was deservedly scored by them. We sincerely wish them all well in their new adventures and look forward to hearing of happier times for such a good set of men.
Journalist extraordinaire yes, but I have no idea who scored what given the 134 points amassed! Post match, news quickly filtered through that Sil’s had lost and that we are ten points clear at the top with one game remaining and therefore a fourth consecutive promotion secured. A proud statistic in just four seasons!
Aware that the season is not yet over, I will save praise for another day, but it would be remiss not to point out the Aggy effect at this stage. This is a very tough league we are in and his influence during further times of rebuilding has been colossal.
So, with the season nearly at an end we will get Earlsdon out the way in a fortnights time, take the p out of Joe a bit more before signing off with the club dinner where we can all congratulate each other on yet another, job very well done.