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SONICS UNABLE TO TAME LIONS

Accrington and Leyland Lions won a feisty but compelling encounter 28-16 over Bristol Sonics to progress to the semi-finals of the Harry Jepson Trophy.A frenetic opening saw plenty of action at both ends but amazingly produced no tries. It wasn’t until 10 minutes that Accrington opened the scoring through Tom Lever who was able to ground the ball as the Sonics failed to deal with a high kick. Mark Quinn converted to extend the lead. With the Lions on top it was a surprise when on 16 minutes the Sonics drew level in a mirror image of the Lions score! A high bomb again not being dealt which gave Marcus Brooker the easiest of scores, Dom Swann adding the extras. Within minutes the Sonics were in front as Brooker broke the line on half way and danced through the cover defence for a cracking score. Swann added the extras to give the Sonics an unlikely 12-6 lead.What followed was almost 20 minutes of incessant Accrington pressure with the Sonics’ defence hanging on manfully. In a portent of what was to follow, numerous penalties were conceded by Bristol with second row Jack Gibson warned over his tackling style.. The pressure had to tell and finally on 38 minutes Dan Horridge went over in the corner as a passing move created an overlap out wide. The conversion was missed and the Sonics entered the break with a slender 2 point advantage.Sonics’ coach Karl Fearnley’s half-time team talk was quickly out of the window as within a minute of the restart the Sonics failed to deal with a sixth-tackle offload and the loose ball was picked up by Andrew Robinson to go over and put Accrington back in front. This seemed to act as a wakeup call to the Sonics and a period of pressure ensued with Accrington’s defence holding firm.Controversy flared on 57 minutes when Sonics winger Mike Norman broke the cover only to be taken off his feet by a high covering tackle from the Accrington full-back. Norman had already been caught high in the second half

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