RUGBY Lions claimed their first piece of silverware in six years with a 38-24 victory against Stoke Old Boys in the Warwickshire Vase final.
Louis Washington-Smith crossed twice with further tries from David Appleby, Zak Wright and Tony Rudkin as Logan Roberts kicked 13 points with the boot in front of a large crowd at Broadstreet RFC.
Lions missed out on promotion in the league by a single point but made up for that near miss to secure a first trophy since 2017.
Rugby were pressed at every breakdown by the Coventry-based side but eventually broke the deadlock when Roberts slotted a penalty between the posts on 24 minutes.
That score opened the floodgates as Appleby touched down the game’s first try as he produced a superb chip-and-chase before Wright dotted down in the corner six minutes later as Roberts converted both tries.
Stoke finally troubled the scoreboard shortly before the break after multiple phases of pressure on the Rugby line but were unable to add the conversion as the Lions took a 12-point lead into the break.
And Stoke struck again after the break to reduce the deficit to five points before a feisty period of high tackles, handling errors and poor discipline disrupted the flow of the game.
Rugby were forced to dig deep to wrestle back control of the game as Washington-Smith scored two quickfire tries, the second of which came from a determined break from Lions’ player-coach Mike Howes as Roberts converted.
And despite losing Howes to a yellow card for a high tackle, Rugby increased their lead when Rudkin finished under the posts and Roberts added the extras.
Stoke added some respectability to the scoreline with two tries in the final two minutes but it proved too little too late as Rugby secured a deserved victory.
And try scorer Wright fittingly lifted the trophy in memory of his father and Lions stalwart Eric who sadly passed away before Christmas.