Peterborough Lions stopped the rot with a hard-fought win at a soggy Bretton Park this afternoon (November 14).
They beat fellow National League Division Three strugglers Sutton Coldfield 12-8 in a dour match to end a run of three defeats.
But they only just sneaked it, with a try by prop forward Nico Steenkamp in the 78th minute clinching victory and four very welcome points.
“It wasn’t pretty but a win’s a win,” said chairman Andy Moore. “It was a horrible day. The conditions were terrible and spoiled the game as a spectacle but we ground out a win.
“It was just what we needed. It will boost the boys’ confidence and give them a massive lift.
“We did what we had to do and I thought the young lads in the side did very well. And most importantly the discipline was good too. For a change we didn’t see any yellow cards.”
The Lions made a bright start and piled on good early pressure with a decisive thrust by skipper Chris Humphrey forcing Sutton Coldfield to concede a penalty.
It was kickable but Will Carrington’s effort sailed narrowly wide.
Five minutes later, and after some great running by Humphrey, Connor Gracey and Matt Dunn, full-back Del Veenendaal squeezed over in the corner for the opening try. Carrington was this time on target with the kick and it was 7-0.
But after such early promise the game went rapidly downhill and degenerated into a midfield stalemate with neither side able to penetrate.
There were no breaks of note and not a sniff of a try-scoring opportunity anywhere.
The visitors did manage to slot a penalty on the stroke of half-time though and it was 7-3 at the break.
The second half was again confined to the middle of the park, where knock-ons and misdirected passes were the order of the day, and it remained at 7-3 until the 72nd minute.
That’s when the Lions’ defence failed to cope with a hopeful up-and-under and Sutton nicked a try to edge 8-7 ahead.
The Lions were back in front within six minutes. They won a penalty on halfway by putting Sutton under heavy pressure at a scrum, something they’d done all afternoon, and Carrington’s deep kick sent the Lions to within 15 yards of the try-line.
Dunn won the lineout, the drive was on and Steenkamp burrowed deep to get the final touch.
Number eight Gracey was a bright spark for the Lions on a dull afternoon while Ethan Searle played well at fly-half on his last outing for the team before returning to South Africa.
It wasn’t such a great afternoon for Borough over at Olney in Buckinghamshire.
They lost 20-3 and that was their fourth defeat on the trot in Midlands Division Two East (South).
“We battled well in a scrappy game played in attrocious conditions and will take positives from it,” said vice-chairman Archie Bennett.
“Our discipline was better and to be honest it was a very even contest. We certainly won’t be losing any sleep over it.”
Harry Roe kicked the penalty for Borough, for whom back row boys Rob Moulds and John Griffin and winger Tom Stuffins had impressive outings.