Lions fight back for hard fought victory

Danny Gilbert crashes through the Leigh Miners Rangers defence to score a try for Featherstone Lions. Picture: Jonathan Buck
Danny Gilbert crashes through the Leigh Miners Rangers defence to score a try for Featherstone Lions. Picture: Jonathan Buck

Featherstone Lions stormed back from 16-6 down to bring the points home from their trip to Leigh Miners Rangers in Division One of the Kingstone Press National Conference.

The introduction of pocket battleship Danny Gilbert and Rich Frankland proved to be a turning point as Paul Dooley’s outfit wore down a lively Miners outfit to win 30-16.

Lions started well enough as Gaz Gale made a good take from an early chip through, but a mistake was punished with a converted try and the hosts soon added a second try.

Gale regained the ball for the Lions from the kick-off and after Harry McAllister went close Ben Mawson ploughed over for his first try for the club.

Ian Jackson added the extras, but Leigh scored next, a converted try giving them a 16-6 lead.

Stern words were said behind the posts by the Lions players and the introduction of the all action Gilbert was the tonic they needed as he made three fine power bursts to set Featherstone on the attack. Ricky Williams and Joe Fox were held close to the line before Gilbert crashed over for a try.

Mawson, Glassell and Beckett did some hard yards and Frankland, beginning to take a grip on the game, made a fine opening to send Gale racing in after he side stepped the Miners full- back to reduce the arrears to two points.

Lions had to defend well before the break, but with Gamble, Fox, Gilbert and Frankland all putting their bodies on the line they saved two certain tries.

A good start to the second half saw Fox go on a strong run. The referee deemed he was held up over the line, although the touch judge gave it as a try at first. Phil Banks, who had his best game for the club, made some fine yards and Ricky Williams sped through only to be held on the line before Danny Glassell produced a piece of magic as he chipped over the Miners defence, collected the ball and scored a great try that put Featherstone ahead. Jackson added the conversion to make it 20-16.

Another chance went begging as Tom Wandless spilled the ball after a great Fox burst. The impressive Gale and Beckett went close before the game breaking score came as Wandless gave a fine ball to Fox who swatted off two men to go over the whitewash.

Jackson goaled then sent Fox racing away and he went 35 yards before parting to Davi Garahan who crossed for another try to complete the scoring.

All 17 Lions players deserve big wraps for a well earned victory.

With men due to come back from injury, suspension and work commitments coach Dooley has a task on his hands picking his side in the coming weeks.

Lions are not in action this weekend, their next game is at home to Pilkington Recs on Saturday, April 7 (kick-off 2.30pm).