16th July 2019, 09:11 | north_west_mens
The North West English Lionhearts return home from Jamaica with their unbeaten record in tact, but not after an almighty fright against a tough Jamaica A side.
The Lionhearts started strongly as they had previously, but were unable to make their pressure count with the Jamaican line sliding well to prevent any opportunities being converted out wide.
After fifteen minutes of fierce defence it was no surprise when the tourists broke the deadlock, working the ball right to left and freeing Jordan Penny up to take advantage of the first defensive lapse in concentration. Deane Meadows missed the kick.
Rather than wilt though, the home side fired themselves up and came back at the Lionhearts with force. They added a little more bite in attack, getting their reward when Jenson Morris broke through the line and cantered home to score. Mohenjo Thompson added the extras and gave Jamaica A the lead.
The crowd all of a sudden roared into life and - aided by the commentary of their partisan stadium announcer - lifted the Jamaican team further.
They added two more points through Mohenjo Thompson following a high tackle from Darryl King and could consider themselves unfortunate to go in only four points up at half time. The Lionhearts defence came to a standstill when claiming a forward pass by the away bench and only an incredible burst of speed from Jack McHugh prevented a score under the sticks, although at some cost as he exited the game injured.
Jamaica A didn’t have to wait long to extend their lead however, Kenneth Walker breaking the line in their first attacking set of the second half. His finish wide on the left made the kick too difficult for Chevaughn Bailey to convert but extended the lead to two scores and put real pressure on the English to respond.
Respond is exactly what the Lionhearts did, very quickly and in some style. First through captain Daniel Brown, then Brown played a clever inside ball to Greg Wilde to break the line and in just 5 minutes and the addition of one kick the tourists were in the lead.
Jamaica A began to look a little more tired and lost their composure a little, failing to deal with the Lionhearts kicks and giving themselves more work to do as a result.
The next try looked as though it would be crucial and it went the way of the visitors, a fantastic dive and one handed finish from Jack Sproat on the right and a fantastic conversion from the touch line by Owain Abel giving the Lionhearts an eight point lead.
Despite there being 25 minutes on the clock and margin still being relatively narrow, the result began to look in little doubt. The Jamaican intensity dropped on the field along with the volume from their supports despite the best efforts of the stadium announce team.
The Lionhearts managed to add two more converted tries with a second from Jordan Penny and a strong run by John Moore who crashed over from close range and completed the scoring with ten minutes left on the clock.
Jamaica A managed to dig deep and worked incredibly hard in an attempt to finish the game on top, aided a little by the late dismissal of the tour captain Daniel Brown after an exchange of words with the match official Kemoy Wight. However, despite some late pressure and numerical advantage the Reggae Warriors were unable to score but should hold their heads up high after giving the Lionhearts a real scare at the UWI Mona Bowl.
Jamaica A: Kenneth Walker, Jenson Morris, Andrew Simpson, Steve Miller, Adrian Thomas, Chevaughn Bailey, Marvin Thompson, Khamasi McKain, Akeem Murray, Mohenjo Thompson, Chawn Henry, Kyle Nembhard, Ryan Grant; Roland Gray, Fabion Thomas, Miguel Facey, Kevin Thomas
North West English Lionhearts: Jack McHugh, Nathan Sneesby, Jordan Penny, Greg Walker, Jack Sproat, Deane Meadows, Darryl King, Sam Lewis, Ste McDermott, Ryan Ashall, Greg Walker, Adam Robinson, Daniel Brown (C)Interchanges: Phil Woollacott, Owain Abel, Adam Rosser, John Moore
Tries: Jordan Penny (2), Danny Brown, Greg Wilde, Jack Sproat, John MooreGoals: Deane Meadows (1/3), Owain Abel (3/3) Sent off: Daniel Brown (Dissent)
Referee: Kemoy White (Jamaica)