Hull Ionians tame Lions with fine first half
HULL Ionians produced a dominant first half which helped seal a 38-20 victory over Leicester Lions in National Two North.
The Lions showed far more life in the second half and for a while retained the ball well then defended their own line with passion when under pressure.
Scrum-half Adam Thomas was man of the match, with his superb work in both attack and defence, with Richard Fletcher's powerful running earning him back of the match and Mark Wigham being the forward of the match.
Ionians stole the first two line-outs and, using the ball well, Fletcher smashed his way through the middle to make 30 metres where good support saw Joe Sanders finish. James Ferguson added the conversion.
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Ionians drove from half way into the 22 off a line-out, then drove again after a penalty line-out, releasing the ball for Fletcher to break again with Mike Bateman on his shoulder to take the scoring pass, Ferguson again adding the goal.
Lions earned a penalty, kicked by Jon Lowdon, but conceded a penalty from the restart, again driven on for another penalty line-out, from which Steve Johnson peeled round to crash over in the corner.
Lions ran from deep then chipped where Thomas saved the score, but the Lions kept up the attack and gained a push-over try for lock Matt Solomon, with Lowdon converting.
Ionians hit straight back by winning turn-over ball, and with no one at home Thomas chipped over the top for Sam Wilson to race in for the score.
Once again a penalty was conceded at the restart, gifting Lowdon three points to give the Lions hope.
After the break Ionians forced Lions into errors and from a 10-metre scrum Wilson came off his wing and ran round to cross again in the corner, Ferguson converting both his tries.
The Lions then had long periods of possession but only progressed to half way as Ionians defended strongly.
Having regained possession, Ionians then camped on the line but failed to power over or give the backs a chance to run it in.
As the Lions broke out, turn-over ball won by Kerry Wood saw Thomas break through tackles with Joe Sanders in support to be tackled inches short. There he tried to feed Wilson for his hat-trick, but the ball was just out of reach and knocked on over the line.
The Lions finally broke out with 10 minutes to go with Gareth Collins making 60 metres where Joe Marston finished, Lowdon adding the goal.
But Ionians had the final say as another penalty brought an attacking line-out, taken cleanly by Joe Makin, allowing the pack to power on for Kerry Wood to gain the sixth try.