Brave Lions shock the league leaders but not their coach

Tom Gulland is congratulated after scoring Lions' first try. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Tom Gulland is congratulated after scoring Lions' first try. Picture: Mick Sutterby
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Peterborough Lions’ shock win over National League Division Three leaders Sheffield at Bretton Park on Saturday came as a surprise to most people . . . but not to their coach Darren Fox.

He watched his side edge home 17-13 in a thrilling clash to record only their second win of the season against a confident Yorkshire outfit boasting four impressive victories on the spin.

Sam Crooks attacks for the Lions. Levan Stapleton is in support. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Sam Crooks attacks for the Lions. Levan Stapleton is in support. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Yet while the outcome may have upset the formbook it was one which Fox half expected.

He insisted the league table doesn’t tell the full story of Lions’ season.

“This season could have been so different,” he said. “We could so easily have won four of the five games we lost and the one we drew and, instead of being fourth from bottom we could be up there challenging. We just didn’t get the rub of the green in those games and lost by the odd score.

“On Saturday it was our turn to win a close one. It could have gone either way but we dug in, defended well and showed great character when they came at us in the second half. The intensity was there throughout.

Danish Tomoliunas scores a try for Borough. Picture: Kevin Goodacre

Danish Tomoliunas scores a try for Borough. Picture: Kevin Goodacre

“We only have a very small squad with no second or third team to call on for players yet we are still one of the top sides in this division.

“That’s because I now have 18 or 19 players who want to work hard at improving their game and as long as they keep improving I’ll be happy. I’ve no time for lads who don’t want to push on and make themselves better. They’ve gone.

“I’m now left with a set of players who have bought into my gameplan. They realise they’re semi-professionals and hopefully we can kick on from Saturday’s result.

“I certainly don’t expect us to win every game but I know we have the capability to upset a few teams with our style of play.”

That style of play doesn’t include playing short-handed for almost half of the game. Sam Crooks, Will Carrington and Kaz Henderson were all sin-binned on Saturday.

“I’ve had a long chat with the lads about our discipline. Three yellow cards for silly offences is unacceptable and we all know we need to tidy up our discipline,” added Fox.

The Lions clinched victory against Sheffield with a try at the end from Arturius Balcunius, who was making a welcome return to action following knee surgery in the summer.

Tom Gulland, who turned in a very impressive first-half showing, got their other try.

This Saturday the Lions are away to Syston and will travel minus prop Ben Howard, who picked up a knock against Sheffield.

There were also celebrations over at Fengate on Saturdat afternoon as Borough roared to a massive 78-15 win over Midlands Division Two East (South) bottom club Vipers.

Centre Michael Bean and new Lithuanian full-back Danish Tomoliunas both helped themselves to a hat-trick of tries.

Stefan Gallucci, Chris Sansby and Joe Andresen all bagged a brace with Johnny Beale and Tom Williams also crossing.

Borough have gone second in the table - just one point behind Luton - as a result.

On Saturday they are away to Rushden & Higham, another struggling team still looking for their first win of the season, and a big win for Lee Adamson’s side is expected once again.

Oundle smashed Rushden last weekend 73-5 with winger Vernon Horne and number eight Robb Shingles touching down for hat-tricks.