Peterborough Lions suffered a heartbreaking defeat in Shropshire this afternoon (April 1) as their magnificent run of 10 English Clubs Championship wins came to an end.
Before the match the Bretton side were still in with a shout of winning the National League Division Three title but a 16-13 defeat at Bridgnorth has ended their dream. Now the best they can hope for is second spot and a promotion play-off place.
But with league leaders Broadstreet visiting Bretton Park next Saturday (April 8) and the injuries mounting up, that may also prove beyond reach.
Today the Lions were very thin on the ground player-wise which meant a first senior start for Will Moore, son of chairman Andy Moore.
Both Will and second-half substitute Joe Lee, a prop, were team-mates in the Lions Under 12 Academy side.
“You could say we’ve got a thriving youth policy,” said Moore Senior.
“It was so frustrating today,” he went on. “We were the better side but just couldn’t seem to get the ball out of the rucks without giving away a penalty. We conceded one after the other in the second half and picked up two yellow cards.
“But fair play to Bridgnorth. They had this knack of killing the ball in the rucks and getting away with it. They did a job on us and they had a massive crowd there cheering them on.
“But at the end of the day who’d have thought we’d be challenging for the title with three games to go after the dreadful start we made to the season.
“How can I criticise anyone after we’ve just strung together 10 wins. To achieve that at this level is fantastic and all the players and coaches deserve credit.”
Head coach Darren Fox was one of the players sin-binned - just five minutes after coming on as second-half substitute - and the other player to receive a yellow card, also in the second half, was prop Ben Howard.
And the visitors also suffered a huge setback when losing skipper Chris Humphrey to injury in the second half.
“That was a massive blow, losing Humpo,” said Moore. “You really need players like him around when it’s tight and the going gets tough.”
And it was certainly tight.
The Lions went 10-0 ahaead after half-an-hour with a lovely try by full-back Adrian Enwright and a conversion and penalty from Will Carrington.
It was 10-5 to the Lions at the break but Bridgnorth started the second half well with a penalty and a try in the corner.
A second Carrington penalty levelled it at 13-13 before Bridgnorth nicked it with another penalty 10 minutes from the end.