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Lions at full strength for Vase showdown
8:48am Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport
SKIPPER Stuart Doolittle says Stourbridge Lions could not be stronger ahead of this Saturday’s Midlands Vase final.
Stourton Park hosts the showpiece clash for the second year running as the Lions look to retain their title against Old Leamingtonians (ko 2pm).
Both sides go into the game in great form and in the case of the Lions, almost injury free.
Doolittle admitted having so many options was both a blessing and a headache.
He said: “Apart from a couple of guys who have been missing all season we’ve a full squad to choose from.
“That’s 29 lads to fill 22 places, there are some who will be disappointed.
“But I think it shows just how strong we are. Without the squad we would not be able to compete in both the Vase and be challenging in the league.
“The lads are nervous and I think that’s a good sign.”
The Lions head into the game in good spirits after beating Midlands Three West (North) promotion rivals Handsworth 28-5 last weekend, a result which leaves the Stourton Park outfit in third-place but in control of their own destiny as they have games in hand on leaders Newcastle.
Leamingtonians, who currently sit top of Midlands Three South (West), will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season’s Vase visit to Stourton Park where they were beaten 9-6 in a tight quarter-final tie.
Victory would take either team within one game of a Twickenham appearance and the National Vase final but Doolittle says that is not in the players’ minds.
He said: “This is not about winning a game to get within a game of Twickenham. This is a prestigious final in a competition which is entered by 90-odd teams from around the Midlands. To get to the final is one hell of an achievement.
“Leamingtonians are a tough team, they are top of their league and they will come to Stourton Park knowing what to expect.
“If we play like we have at places like Stamford earlier in the competition I think we will be very tough to beat.”