Richmond-based amateur rugby club, London Scottish Lions, capped an impressive first season by claiming the RFU Herts Middlesex Shield and winning a promotion play-off with their second XV team to RFU Middlesex Merit Table 1, after last weekend securing promotion to the RFU Herts Middlesex One League with their first XV squad.
The First XV’s 32-12 triumph in the Shield came against Watford RFC, a hotly contested affair sealed with a pair of tries from club talisman Jemel Edwards, who has scored 40 tries this year for the Lions. The Second XV overcame North East London’s Old Streetonians, 20-12.
The previous weekend’s league win for the Lions first XV again versus Watford, sealed a clean sweep of bonus point victories for the club, with the championship victory all but secure for several weeks after a strong start to the competition. Just one team goes up from Herts Middlesex 2, the side which finishes top each season, and in 2018/19 that is the Lions. The next goal is to stay up, and try for promotion in the new season.
The club was formed last summer with a whole new management and coaching team, after years of running as the amateur setup of London Scottish RFC, which itself sits in the RFU league, albeit in the Greene King IPA Championship, some eight levels higher than where the Lions began in August 2018. The split was made to conform with RFU regulations, and the promotion caps an impressive first season for the club.
The dual promotions mean the local team will be able to offer more competitive rugby and playing opportunities, continuing a long legacy of rugby success associated with the London Scottish name.
Head Coach David Box, himself a former London Scottish player and local school sports teacher, has ambitious plans for the new club. “We want to dream big with the Lions. There is plenty of talent in the local area, but its about creating a culture that people want to be part of. That’s what myself and the exec team are committed to doing here. We don’t just want to be promoted one league, we want to continue to rise up the leagues and play against the best in the London area on a regular basis. We want to grow players on and off the pitch, and for them to enjoy their rugby on a Saturday. The first part of the plan is complete, we need to do this consistently each year now.”
The final game for the Lions First team is on Saturday 27th April away to Hendon, competing for the Herts Middlesex Vase. This will be the strongest test yet for the Lions, as Hendon are in the league they will play in next season, which is sure to present a tough test.
London Scottish Lions offers varying levels of amateur rugby for up and coming young stars, ex-internationals looking to play at a reasonable level, and former local and national level club players still wishing to play the game – but a Scottish heritage isn’t required to play. With plans to expand to three teams next season, new recruits are encouraged to show interest via the team’s website.