A try five minutes from time by Michael Embleton saw the Yorkshire Lionhearts defeat Serbia 16-14 in a no-holds-barred battle, in heavy showers at the FK Radnički stadium in Belgrade.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t secure the win, even though we held a lead throughout the game,” said Serbian assistant coach Ljubomir Bukvić. “But new head coach Darren Higgins and rest of our staff are happy with the way we played, especially considering the rain.”
Serbia took the lead in the 17th minute courtesy of Miloš Ćalilć’s converted try and a Vojislav Dedić’s penalty.
Jack Kirmond crossed for the tourists but he could not add the conversion, nor to scores after the break for Reece Spurr and a brace for centre Embleton that countered three more penalties from Dedić.
The win saw the Lionhearts complete their tour unbeaten, having defeated a Belgrade regional side 60-12 at FK Heroj Polet stadium in Jajinci.
“Although this was a third loss to the Lionhearts in the last 10 years, each time we have shown considerable progress even though our guests return home victorious,” added Bukvić. “Nevertheless, the game and the week long training camp that came before it have been an excellent preparation for the autumn’s European World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Italy. ”
Miloš Zogović, Miloš Đurković, Pero Madžarević, Miodrag Tomić, Vuk Štrbac, Vojislav Dedić, Džavid Jašari, Aleksa Radić, Austin Novaković, Soni Radovanović, Stevan Stevanović, Miloš Ćalić, Vladica Nikolić.
Subs: Žarko Kovačević, Vladi Kušić, Đorđe Stošić, Dario Abidinović.
Try: Miloš Ćalić (17)
Goals: Vojislav Dedić 5/5
Daniel Lazenby, Jonny Parish, Ben West, Micheal Embleton, Liam Kendall, Lewis Poskitt, Kyle Ackroyd, Daniel Hawkswth, Jack Kirmond, Wayne Jowett, Damon Fletcher, Reece Spurr, Jack Howdle.
Subs: Jacob Hart-Fisher, Ryan Pressick, Nikola Zalad, James Bromwich.
Tries: Jack Kirmond (4), Micheal Embleton (50, 75), Reece Spurr (54)
Goals: Jack Kirmond 0/4
Half time: 8-4