It was a miserable afternoon (February 28) for Peterborough rugby with both city sides tasting English Clubs Championship defeat.
The Lions welcomed runaway National League Division Three leaders South Leicester to Bretton Park and were crushed 31-3 while Borough were beaten 29-10 at Wellingborough in Midlands Division Two East (South).
For the Lions it was a second successive loss and it further dented their promotion play-off hopes. Although they remain third in the table, the gap between them and second-placed Hinckley has widened to six points.
South Leicester, a side that included three former Spalding players in their line-up in the shape of Wes Cope, Jethro Rawling and Harry Sharman, looked worthy champions.
They were big and strong up front, had plenty of pace outside and their defence was rock-solid. The Lions found themselves running against a brick wall and made little headway.
Normally their powerful ball carriers - players like Chris Humphrey, Saad Sait and Darren Fox - make five to 10 yards when in possession. Today their yardage was considerably reduced.
And for the first time this season the Lions failed to register a try. Their only score was a first-minute penalty by Will Carrington.
That spurred them on for a while in the opening exchanges and wingers Harry Winch and Vernon Horne enjoyed a couple of promising gallops.
But the longer the game went on, the more dominant South Leicester became.
They led 12-3 at the interval through four successful penalty kicks and really got on top in the second half when they crossed for three tries.
The Lions did create scoring opportunities themselves - normally stemming from the outstanding endeavours of full-back Adam Barnard - but they were wasted either by sloppy handling or poor decision-making.
And losing influential number eight Darren Fox to the sin-bin midway through the second period certainly didn’t help their cause.
Fox in fact saw red with a minute to go when he was deemed to be the chief instigator of a mass punch-up between the two packs and received a second yellow card.
Chairman Andy Moore was quick to praise South Leicester.
“You can’t take anything away from them - they have class players and are a well organised side and they did a professional job on us.
“But whereas we were unlucky to lose at their place, they were comfortable winners in the end here today.
“We had too many players missing through injury or suspension today and weren’t able to give them a run for their money like we did back in November.
“Now we’ll just have to knuckle down and win all of our remaining fixtures to keep sight of that promotion place.”
Borough were also beaten by a better side.
Wellingborough sit second in the table while Borough are hovering close to the relegation zone. And that was certainly reflected in the balance of play.
Borough did actually go into an early lead when the ever-dangerous Rob Jacobs smashed through the middle for a try.
But by half-time Wellingborough had established a 17-10 advnantage - veteran flanker Andy Barringer crossing for Borough’s second try - and they remained in control in the second period.
Borough were hampered by the loss of Martin Ball through injury after 20 minutes and George Offers to the sin-bin just before the break.
Barringer, scrum-half Harry Roe and Chayne Loades were the pick of the Borough players.