Lions win but two major players forced to retire

Skipper Chris Humphrey attacks for the Lions against Sutton Coldfield. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Skipper Chris Humphrey attacks for the Lions against Sutton Coldfield. Picture: Mick Sutterby

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Peterborough Lions’poor run of results came to an end on Saturday as they overcame fellow strugglers Sutton Coldfield 12-8 at Bretton Park.

After three successive defeats in National League Division Three it was welcome news for player/coach Darren Fox.

Tom Lewis drives forward for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Tom Lewis drives forward for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

But although it brought a smile back to the face of the ex-Northampton Saints star, he was quick to add that a crippling injury list has just got a whole lot worse.

“It was good to get a win and the lads certainly deserved it. They’ve worked really hard at training and hopefully it’s given us something to build on,” said Fox.

“Our discipline was good and it’s no coincidence that we won when not getting any yellow cards.

“I thought our scrummaging was excellent and, considering the appalling conditions, I thought our ball retention was good.

Vernon Horne is tackled just short of the try-line. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Vernon Horne is tackled just short of the try-line. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“I was a bit worried when they came back at us towards the end to take the lead. But we showed great character to fight back and snatch what I thought was a deserved win.

“Now we need to show that mental toughness in every game. We’ve got to keep upping it because nobody’s going to give us results in this league, we’ve got to earn them.”

And that’s a task made all the harder following the news that two key players have been forced to retire through injury and two more face a long spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery.

Darrell Ball, the Army captain who joined the Lions from Shelford at the start of the season, has decided to call it a day because of a knee problem, and prop Tom Laws has also been advised to give up playing because of knee trouble.

John Harlock (groin) and Danny Hartwell (shoulder) are the players facing operations.

Apart from those four, also missing on Saturday through injury were Fox himself (groin), Wade Schoemann (shoulder), Gedis Marcisauskas (knee) and Harry Winch (neck).

Fox added: “We’re certainly missing a lot of players through injury and Ethan Searle has now gone back to South Africa as well. That was his last game last Saturday and that’s a big blow.

“But if we stick to what we are doing it will come and I’ve no doubt we’ll creep up the table.”

The Lions are away at Birmingham & Solihull on Saturday and they are two points below Lions in the table and occupy one of three relegation slots.

Fox said: “It’ll be tough. Birmingham are an established club who have been in the National League for many years. They are going through a lean spell at the moment but it won’t be an easy game at their place.”