The Esher Golden Lions took to the field for the last Rugby Rocks tournament of 2013 on Saturday, hosted at Boroughmuir RFC, Edinburgh.
The Tobago Division of Tourism sponsored side were in a pool of 5 with Zoo Mighty Peth, Newitts Centurions, Royal Scots and The South. A young and eager squad set up the trusted Esher Gazebo and changed in to their unique 7's strip bringing the True Caribbean experience and feeling to the people and spectators of Edinburgh.
With a real party atmosphere developing ahead of the days activities the Golden Lions took to the field for the first pool match of the day against Zoo. Simple but effective play from Esher saw them dominate much of the game and possession and 3 minutes in to the second half the side were leading comfortably 17-0 after tries were brilliantly finished off by Harding and Olima (2) respectively. An air of over confidence started to creep in to the side and the final score of 17-5 does not reflect how well Zoo rallied, a mistake that would thankfully not be repeated for the rest of the day.
Match 2 saw the Golden Lions face familiar adversaries in the Newitts Crusaders, a team that had cost them a number of tournament wins last season. As anticipated, the fixture was a close affair with the lead exchanging hands a number of tries and after tries from Gossington, Edwards and Dixon the match finished at 17 a piece. A good result against a strong side but one that the squad felt was below what they should have achieved.
So, eager to make amends in their penultimate pool match, the squad warmed up with renewed focus and vigour only to be informed that Royal Scots had withdrawn from the tournament and were to be awarded a 28-0 Bye. This lead to an extended break but the Lions maintained their discipline and put in an extremely impressive and physical performance against The South to win 29-19 with tries for Gibbs, Edwards, Keates, Olima and Harding. This result meant a pool win and progression to the elite semi's for the Esher team.
After the completion of the final pool match from the other group we were pitted against an old foe - The British Army - the eventual tournament champions. They proved far too strong and experienced for the Esher squad and a rush defence coupled with explosive pace led to a one way score line and the end of Esher's tournament.
Although disappointed, in the final debrief from coach extraordinaire Chris Kibble, the squad were in a buoyant mood after a great sevens season and would like to thank our sponsors Tobago Division of Tourism for all their support and look forward to their trip later on in 2013.
Match Report by Neil Sweeney.