Above: The Lions kick off against Boston. (Photo by JJ Darling | jjdarling.com)

Saturday, March 21, 2015: Village Lions 5, Boston 55

As the referee said after the game, “The effort and style of play was not reflected in the scoreline.”

After a long day of volunteering for the Four Leaf 15s tournament, the Lions were raring to get on the pitch to face off against Boston. After an initial surge of adrenaline, the Lions were kept on the back foot for most of the game. Although a high percentage of tackles were made, most of them were at or behind the gain line, giving Boston the momentum they needed to push down the field for tries, three of which came in the first half.

The Lions defense was tested up and down the pitch and showed resilience in their 22 multiple times with hard rucking and smart positional play. The Lions scrum provided an excellent platform, but the backline could not find the key to unlock Boston’s defense. After great rucking by the Lions, the well-drilled Boston pack were smart in conceding rucks and concentrating on targeting turnovers when the ball hit the Lions backs.

At halftime, the Lions seemed to be flagging due to exhaustion from running the tournament, but for most, truth be told, fitness was a factor. A halftime pep talk and fresh legs entering the game did provide a boost, though. Early on in the second half, flyhalf Aislinn Smith read one of Boston’s passes like a cheap romance novel, running away with it and popping the ball to outside center Rosie Rough, who dotted it down for the try.

It wasn’t too long after this that Boston started to turn the screw with their bigger back row and overall fitness. Many great tackles were made, but every small mistake was punished. Although emotions were running high and spirits were a bit deflated, the Lions worked until the final whistle, realizing what they needed to work on this coming season. It is a good thing to be finally be back on the pitch.

Team (1-15): Emily Kunsman, Alli Baer, Amanda Sesny, Theresa Cassano, Mallory Woods, Desiree Vodounon, Tricia Stanley, Meg Collins, Kim D’acres, Aislinn Smith (c), Megan O’Neil, Margo Smith, Rosie Rough, Vicky Dushku, Megan Banford

Subs: Emmarie Etheridge (25 min. D’acres), Quin Works (60 min. Kunsman), G. Angela Corpus (65 min. Collins), Molly Fogarty (65 min. A. Smith), Lili Blumenberg (70 min. Baer), Nicole Caso (70 min. Vodounon)