MATCH REPORTS: Oundle no match for title favourites Borough . . . six wins on the bounce for the Lions

Ben Higton scores Borough's first try against Oundle. Picture: Kevin Goodacre
Ben Higton scores Borough's first try against Oundle. Picture: Kevin Goodacre
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Borough took the honours in the big local derby in the English Clubs Championship today (February 11).

The city side overcame Oundle 28-16 in Midlands Division Two East (South) to maintain their 13-point lead at the top of the table.

Michael Bean attacks for Borough against Oundle. Picture: Kevin Goodacre

Michael Bean attacks for Borough against Oundle. Picture: Kevin Goodacre

The game didn’t quite match the excitement generated in the reverse fixture at Fengate back in October, which ended in a 31-31 draw, but it was still a decent contest between two sides with so much more than local bragging rights to play for.

While Borough were hoping to take a significant step towards winning the title and outright promotion back to Midlands Division One, Oundle were after points to bolster their bid for the runners-up spot and a promotion play-off place. But with Old Laurentians winning 38-19 at home to Stamford and Oadby beating Luton 25-0, Oundle have slipped back to fourth in the league standings.

Borough were given a scare when the two sides clashed earlier in the campaign but on this occasion it was plain sailing for Lee Adamson’s side.

Oundle battled gamely throughout as they spent 70 minutes chasing the game after falling behind to a Ben Higton try when making a hash of fielding a chip ahead.

Tom WIlliams launches an attack for Borough against Oundle. Picture: Kevin Goodacre

Tom WIlliams launches an attack for Borough against Oundle. Picture: Kevin Goodacre

And they did raise a few eyebrows among the Borough supporters when closing the gap to within one score at 23-16 with 10 minutes remaining.

But Borough never really looked like losing. They were faster and stronger and really should have bagged at least another four or five tries.

Higton’s early touchdown was followed two minutes later by a second Borough try when Stuart Day boomed over after oustanding full-back Danius Tomoliunas had launched an attack from deep. Stefan Gallucci and Michael Bean also played prominent parts in the build-up.

Tom Williams’ conversion made it 12-0 and the only other scores in the first half were penalties - two from Williams and one from Oundle fly-half Jaco Steenberg.

Jack Lewis scores one of his three tries for the Lions against Sandbach. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Jack Lewis scores one of his three tries for the Lions against Sandbach. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Steenberg slotted another two just after the restart to narrow the gap to 18-9 to the visitors but Borough responded with a third try and a 23-9 advantage.

Winger Jonno Anderson scored it but it was a brilliant long pass by Joe Andresen and good hands by Savel Pretorius that created it.

For the next 20 minutes it was all Borough. They camped in the Oundle half and piled on heaps of pressure.

The pressure though went unrewarded, largely due to poor handling - understandable given the freezing conditions.

Adrian Enwright scores a try for the Lions against Sandbach. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Adrian Enwright scores a try for the Lions against Sandbach. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Oundle’s first foray into Borough territory for 20 minutes brought an instant return as Robb Singles muscled his way over from a maul formed at a lineout.

Steenberg added the extras and the Oundle tails were up. Just seven more points would secure another unlikely draw.

But it didn’t happen on this occasion. As they attacked in search of an equaliser, Borough gobbled up a loose ball and Andresen sprinted in from 40 yards out to put the issue beyond doubt.

For Oundle there were commedable displays by new Kiwi flanker Evan Griffiths and powerful centre Toby Snelling while for Borough, Pretorius was the pick of the pack and Gallucci, normally a winger, did a sound job standing in for the absent Harry Roe at scrum-half.

Oundle: Sait, Roberts, Carter, Page, Andrews, New,Griffiths, Shingles, Steenberg, Tandy, Smithson, Snelling, Gardner, Horne, Oliver. Suns: Jones, Kachra, Bates.

Borough: Edwards, Throne, Day, Drabbant, Thompson, Higton, Pretorius, Strigunas, Gallucci, Andresen, Williams, Bean, Anderson, Sansby, Tomoliunas. Subs: Steenkamp, Stuffins, Mills.

Action from the Lions v Sandbach game. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Action from the Lions v Sandbach game. Picture: Mick Sutterby

In National League Division Three, Peterborough Lions made it six wins on the trot when beating Sandbach from Cheshire 39-15 at Bretton Park.

Star of the show with a hat-trick of tries was hooker Jack Lewis. Adrian Enwright and Marius Andrijauskas also scored tries.

The Lions remain fifth in the table, level on points with third-placed Birmingham.