LONGLEVENS 23 RUGBY LIONS 12
LONGLEVENS cruised to Junior Vase glory with a sensational first-half performance at Twickenham.
The Gloucester club raced into a 23-0 lead thanks a double from electric wing Jack Beck and a further touchdown from Daniel Wilton in a relentless display of attacking rugby.
A much bigger Rugby Lions outfit battled back with a try from Chris Easton and the dominated large periods of a scrappy second-half.
They eventually scored a second, through, Michael Walton, but it was too little, too late after the damage in Levens’ profitable purple patch.
The Longford Lane club were left bitterly disappointed after missing out on promotion to Gloucester Premier by a single point.
But the Twickenham final provided the perfect opportunity to finish the season in fairytale fashion.
Whatever head coach Richard Rudge said to his troops ahead of kick-off certainly did the trick as they came storming out of the blocks at HQ and he was close to tears after the final whistle.
The forwards carried into the heart of Rugby Lions with real venom and Thomas Evans and Jack Beck were making major inroads out wide.
They were dominating almost every facet apart from the scrum, where Lions turned the screw on several occasions and they enjoyed some early pressure.
A superb covering tackle kept Lions wing Jonathan Ure at bay before the bouncing ball beat full-back Ian Renard into touch following an audacious grubber from tight-head David Nurse.
The Warwickshire club failed to turn pressure into points as Jamie Whiteside struck the uprights and they were made to pay when Longlevens scrum-half Michael Hagen broke the deadlock with a pair of penalties.
Levens continued to grow in dominance and they began to establish a real foothold on the encounter with their back-three running riot in wide channels.
Fly-half Craig Barden intercepted an over-ambitious Lions flick pass to race into enemy territory. He was tackled short but the ball was recycled efficiently and spread left for Beck to dart over.
Hagan missed the conversion but their back-three continued to run riot and Evans should have scored a second try following a Beck break but knocked on with the try-line at his mercy.
But Longlevens quickly made amends as a sweeping backs move saw the ball spread to Beck, who beat Ian Renard and Adam Attenborough at close-range to squeeze in the corner for his second-try in little more than five minutes..
Hagan was once again off target but the score had put Rudge’s side in a 16-0 lead to send their nine coach-loads into raptures.
Despite their miss Levens did not take long to stretch their lead even further. Harry Yorke made the initial inroads and with a succession of quick-fire offloads Wilton powered over, with Hagan adding the extras.
Lions piled on the pressure in the closing stages of the half but Levens defended heroically and should have cleared their lines.
But a cruel bounce from a miss-struck clearance handed Lions a five-metre lineout and following a sustained period of pressure their juggernaut pack eventually rumbled over with centre Easton the scorer and Jamie Whiteside converting.
Both sides had opportunities to add to their scores but some desperate defence ensured a deadlock ensued.
With some behemoth forwards, Rugby controlled large periods and strangled Levens of possession but they defended heroically and soaked up immense pressure.
That was until Walton got the scoreboard ticking once again, wiggling through some tired defence in the closing stages but it was little consolation as Levens marched to glory.