RUGBY: Double despair as Lions and Borough lose again

Jack Gunn  attacks for Borough against Oakham. Picture: Tim Gates

Jack Gunn attacks for Borough against Oakham. Picture: Tim Gates

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For the third weekend running it was a case of double despair for Peterborough rugby today (November 7).

The Lions were beaten 28-19 at Scunthorpe in National League Division Three while Borough suffered their third consecutive loss in Midlands Division Two East (South) when going down 35-27 at home to Oakham.

Adam Kimber in possession for Borough against Oakham. Picture: Tim Gates

Adam Kimber in possession for Borough against Oakham. Picture: Tim Gates

Once again the Lions had to battle it out short-handed while players spent time in the sin-bin.

They were going well coming up to the hour-mark and had their noses in front. But then Marius Andrijauskas and Chris Humphrey were yellow carded in quick succession and they saw their hard-earned 19-16 lead disappear.

Lions chairman Andy Moore said: “I can’t remember the last time we lost three games on the trot but I know it’s a long, long time ago.

“It was once again a very frustrating afternoon for us because we had Scunthorpe on the rack and could so easily have won this game.

Marius Andrijauskas drives forward for the Lions against Scunthorpe. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Marius Andrijauskas drives forward for the Lions against Scunthorpe. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“But unfortunately we let ourselves down again with poor discipline and poor decision-making. We had at least four chances to kick penalties but didn’t take them. Instead we opted to kick for the corners.

“Scunthorpe are a very good side, especially at home, and when you let your concentration slip they are on you. That’s what happened today.

“But I have to say it was a much improved performance. There was plenty of effort and the lads are definitely trying their hardest.

“We produced some great rugby in patches. We played brilliantly for 10 minutes here and there but then mediocre for the next 10 minutes.”

Vernon Horne scored two tries against Scunthorpe. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Vernon Horne scored two tries against Scunthorpe. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Player/coach Darren Fox, normally a back row man, chose to start this week in the unaccustomed role of centre but was an early casualty. He went off after just a couple of minutes with a thigh strain.

Ethan Searle moved from scrum-half to centre with Tom Dougherty coming on and the adjustments worked as Lions turned round with a 7-6 lead.

Vernon Horne nipped in for a smart try and Will Carrington slotted a difficult conversion while Scunthorpe kicked two penalties.

Early in the second half Carrington darted over for a try to make it 12-6 but Scunthorpe kicked two more penalties and then scored their first try to take over in front at 16-12.

Horne, back to his old self, showed the Scunthorpe defence a clean pair of heels once again to race in for his second try and Carrington’s conversion put Lions back in the lead at 19-16.

That was as good as it got for the city side though as Andrijauskas and Humphrey departed to the bin and Scunthorpe ran in two tries in the last quarter.

Debutants Del Veenendaal and Danny Hartwell both acquitted themselves well on their debuts at full-back and flanker respectively.

Borough performed way below their best against a very ordinary Oakham side.

They lacked urgency and aggression and that had much to do with inspirational skipper Sam Crooks not performing to his usual high standard.

The powerful number eight picked up a shoulder injury in the warm-up and although he bravely participated for just over an hour - often grimacing in pain - his input was severely restricted.

And making it a miserable day for the Crooks family, big brother Ben received a red card for a punching offence at the start of the second half.

A dull, lifeless first half finished with Oakham 11-10 up. Borough’s points came from a Sam Crooks try following a useful kick and run by Tom Stuffins and a conversion and penalty by Harry Roe.

Then came Ben Crooks’ dismissal and Borough struggled with 14 men. Oakham started to assert more authority and crossed for two tries for a 25-10 lead.

Stuffins kept Borough in contention though scoring a try after Sam Crooks had won a lineout to make it 25-15.

The last quarter of an hour was certainly the best part of a poor game and produced four tries - two for each team.

And that was certainly a good effort by Borough as they were reduced to 13 men for 10 minutes when Jack Gunn got a yellow card.

Winger Chris Sansby smashed his way over wide out for the first after a gutsy run by Adam Kimber, and Joe Andresen got the second, which earned Borough a bonus point, when diving over from under the posts from a tapped penalty a couple of yards out. Roe converted the second try.

For Borough the tackling of centre Johnny Beale caught the eye - but not a lot else did.