26-6; Victoria Park, Leicester; 28th February 2015
Leicester Storm Rugby League Club fell to a 26-6 defeat at the hands of the Royal Artillery on Saturday 28th February, as the two teams continued to warm up for their respective league seasons in competing for the RVL Heroes Shield.
Held at Leicester’s Victoria Park, a good crowd attended to watch a match played in relatively cold and windy conditions. The Storm handed first-grade debuts to Dan Baillie, Harry Wilkinson and Liam Croker following their impressive showings throughout pre-season training, whilst five members of Leicester’s 17-man squad had all progressed through the junior ranks of the Storm.
Both teams started well, setting the tone for an intriguing contest. Despite the poor weather conditions, the encounter saw some entertaining attack-minded rugby league being played in the opening 20 minutes; however, it was the Gunners who struck first, as a well-worked backline move produced the opening try of the match.
Despite the setback, the Storm responded well and were unlucky not to go over the line on a couple of occasions before the half-time whistle. The home side were left to rue those missed opportunities on the 35th minute, as the Royal Artillery struck again to go over in the corner to give the Armed Forces side a 10-0 lead going into the break.
After another tight opening 20 minutes, the second half saw the Storm this time capitalise on opportunities created. Liam Crocker sealed his first start in the Storm first team with a debut try, which was converted by Oli Furness. Eager to continue their fight back, a number of uncharacteristic errors from the Storm proved to be the team’s downfall. Shortly after getting a foothold back in the game, Leicester found themselves 20-6 behind, allowing the Royal Artillery to cross for a couple of soft tries.
The Gunners crossed over once more in the game, as despite a spirited fight from the Storm, the fitness of their Army opponents told as the Royal Artillery sealed the victory to retain the RVL Heroes Shield.
After the game, Leicester Storm director of rugby, Dean Thomas, said:
“For 70 minutes, we competed with the Royal Artillery and, in patches, we were the better team. Today, we put out a very young and inexperienced side and they more that held their own. With six senior players to come back into the team, we are well-placed for Round 1 of the Conference League South, which gets underway on 21st March.”
Storm vs. Gunners: 1 Jack Williams, 2 Frank Barlow, 3 Liam Croker, 4 Aston Stephenson, 5 Oli Saville, 6 Mark Etherington, 7 Oli Furness, 8 Reece Williams, 9 Jacob Hudson, 10 Lewis Flack, 11 Greg Hurst (c), 12 Mark White, 13 Roddy Jonas, 14 Dan Baillie, 15 Tom Bulmer, 16 Lewis Chapman, 17 Harry Wilkinson
Leicester Storm Rugby League’s next fixture is the Conference League South opener against Torfaen Tigers, which is to be played at Victoria Park on Saturday 21st March 2015 (2:00pm).