Southam 17 Rugby Lions 28: Penalty-try award allows Lions to pull away from Southam

Action from the Warwickshire Shield final between Rugby Lions and Southam. Picture: Eric Wright
Action from the Warwickshire Shield final between Rugby Lions and Southam. Picture: Eric Wright

A controversial penalty try award proved pivotal as in-form Rugby Lions beat near-neighbours Southam in the Warwickshire Shield final.

Lions boast a 100 per cent record in Midlands Four West (South) and there was little between the two teams in the opening 15 minutes.

However, Rugby opened up a 13-point lead thanks to a converted try from Adam Attenborough and two penalties to leave their higher-division opponents on the back foot.

Southam eventually clicked into gear and, following a series of good phases, got on the scoreboard when Will Grindal converted a penalty awarded for offside inside Lions’ 22.

Grindal narrowly missed another three-pointer from 45 metres, but Southam were now getting into the faces of the Lions players and it paid dividends when they took a ball against the head on the 22.

Some slick lay-offs from Pete Burnell, Will Woods and winger Lewis Dodds allowed supporting fly-half Harry Hewson to squeeze in for a try in the corner.

The kick was well converted by Grindal to bring the deficit down to three points at the interval.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with a scoreless 15 minutes before Lions added a try courtesy of replacement wing Jonny Ure and a Danny Campbell penalty.

They were denied another try when Ciaran Wardle crossed only to be hauled back after nicking the whitewash as he flew down the wing.

The inability of Southam’s kickers to find touch was inviting pressure on themselves and Rugby took advantage, with a little help from the referee who gave a penalty try after Jonny Ure was adjudged to have been impeded as he attempted to touch down in goal.

Eventually the referee’s arm started pointing in the opposite direction and Southam worked their way down the field and, after numerous phases and penalties, Matt Catterall crashed over for a consolation try converted by Grindal.