Lions mauled by local rivals but head coach Fox remains upbeat

John Harlock drives forward for the Lions against Cambridge. Picture: Mick Sutterby
John Harlock drives forward for the Lions against Cambridge. Picture: Mick Sutterby
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Darren Fox was anything but downhearted after seeing his Peterborough Lions side hammered by Cambridge on Saturday.

The Bretton- based Lions, who are preparing for a second season in National League Three, lost their latest pre-season friendly 50-19 at the home of the National League Two club but head coach Fox claimed the scoreline flattered the opposition.

“Fair enough, Cambridge were the better side and deserved to win. They are a very well drilled outfit. But a few of their tries were a bit dubious and the scoreline didn’t do us justice,” said Fox.

“We came under the cosh at the set piece but whenever we managed to put three or four phases together we looked like scoring.

“And when you take into account that Cambridge are a very ambitious League Two club with three-quarters of their squad full-time professionals and that we were missing a few of our big players, then I have to be encouraged by our performance.

“I was reasonably happyand the the game served its purpose because it showed us what we need to work on and that is mainly the set piece.

“At any level of rugby you’ve got to win first phase ball so there will be a lot of emphasis put on that in two big weeks of training before the season starts on September 5.”

Lions also lost their other pre-season friendly - 43-21 to Bishop’s Stortford seven days earlier. The Hertfordshire club also ply their trade in National League Two and, like Cambridge, have high hopes of moving up a tier.

Fox added: “We consciously went out of our way to arrange friendlies with teams above us. Cambridge and Bishop’s Stortford are at a level we aim to reach soon.

“And I reckon that with our best 20 players out we would cause most National League Two sides problems.

“Unfortunately it showed on Saturday that when we are a handful of players missing then we don’t have sufficient strength in depth.”

The Lions try-scorers at Cambridge were Wade Schoeman, Dean Elmore and Vernon Horne.