LINCOLN CROWNED LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
ROLLS ROYCE 1ST XV 29
LINCOLN 1ST XV 45
MIDLANDS THREE EAST (NORTH)
BY JOSEPH VERNEY
Lincoln were crowned Midlands Three East (North) champions with four games to spare after a 45-29 win in a topsy-turvy match at Rolls Royce.
Tries from Will Scammell, Ben Sykes and Conor Morgan saw Lincoln come from behind to take a narrow 17-10 lead going in at the break.
Jacob Hardy, Josh Pratt, Matt Keeton and a second try from Scammell sealed the title for Lincoln, while James Kirk added five conversions.
Rolls Royce deserve big credit for never giving up and battling right until the end and, at one point in the second half there was just two points between the sides. But Lincoln dug deep to ensure that nothing would delay them securing both promotion and the title all in one afternoon.
The hosts started strongly and took the lead inside the opening two minutes as Chris Wheatley went over for a try in the corner, which Josh Mycroft converted.
Lincoln reduced the deficit when Kirk offloaded for Scammell to race down the wing, evading one player and powering past another to run in for a try.
A Mycroft penalty put Rolls Royce further in front before two tries in the final three minutes of the first half turned the game in Lincoln’s favour.
Hardy made great yards before Morgan powered through some tackles and the ball was then worked back out wide for Sykes to run and power his way over for a try.
Sykes then turned provider as the flanker made a great run before timing his offload perfectly for Morgan to dodge past his man and go over for a try. Kirk added the extras to give Lincoln a 17-10 lead going in at the break.
Lincoln increased their lead within four minutes of the restart as man of the match Hardy burst clear from halfway, leaving the defence with no chance as he ran in for a try, which Kirk converted.
The visitors were gaining good momentum at this point and it wasn’t long before Lincoln were in for another try. Morgan powered through a few tackles before offloading to Scammell, who in turn passed to Pratt. Pratt then raced onto his own kick over the top to touch the ball down for a great try, which Kirk converted.
Rolls Royce refused to give up and a good spell of pressure saw Will Woods power over for a try from close range and Mycroft successfully slotted over the conversion.
The hosts continued to put pressure on the Lincoln defence and a forward drive put Ben Carretta over for an unconverted try.
Wheatley then went over for his second try of the afternoon, which Mycroft converted to narrow the gap to just two points.
But two tries in the final 10 minutes ensured Lincoln would take the bonus point victory and end the day as champions.
Pratt and Kirk combined to set up Scammell, who raced upfield to score a great try in the corner. Keeton then powered through one tackle and dodged past another to go over for a try and Kirk successfully added both conversions.
Rolls Royce still continued to battle hard, but they were unable to cause any further drama as Lincoln held on for the title-winning points.
POST MATCH COMMENTS
Captain Harry Cowles was delighted to have led Lincoln to the title after what he described as a “roller coaster” of a game.
“It was an up and down game and a bit of a roller coaster,” said Cowles. “They started in front and then we got it back.
“Rolls Royce were right on our heels again, but we knuckled down in the end and got the deserved victory.
“It means everything. It is what you go out to do. Winning the league is the most important as you want to see the club move forward. The league is the priority, but we still have a cup final to look forward to.”