Rugby: Surprise, surprise as Lions lose and Borough hold the leaders

Will Carrington (right) in action for Lions against Old Halesonians. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Will Carrington (right) in action for Lions against Old Halesonians. Picture: Mick Sutterby

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There were shock results for the two city sides involved in English Clubs Championship matches this afternoon (January 17).

The Lions’ fine run in National League Division Three, which saw them go into today’s game sitting in second place, came to an end as they went down 23-16 at Old Halesonians while Borough drew 15-15 with Midlands Division Two East (South) leaders Northampton Old Scouts at Fengate.

The Lions have slipped to fourth in the table but even more worrying for them was an injury picked up by their inspirational player/coach Darren Fox.

The star number eight departed with an ankle injury after just 10 minutes and there are fears he may have suffered a break. He is set to have x-rays later.

“It was not a good day and losing Foxy was a massive, massive setback for us,” said Lions chairman Andy Moore.

“We also lost Manny Van Niekirk with a shoulder injury in the first half and Wade Schoeman and Chris Humphrey were both hobbling after picking up knocks. It was one of those games when nothing seemed to go right.

“I have to say it was probably our worst performance of the season so to come away from a place like Old Halesonians, who are a very strong, well organised team, with a losing bonus point is not that bad.

“Hopefully all these injuries won’t turn out to be as serious as they look and we can get that promotion bid back on track in our next game in a fortnight.”

It was 13-13 at the break, Humphrey grabbing a forwards’ try converted by Will Carrington on the stroke of half-time, and that was probably a fair reflection of play. But in the second half it was the home side applying most of the pressure.

The Lions did lead briefly, 16-13 through a third Carrington penalty, but Halesonians ran in two unconverted tries to complete the double over the Bretton outfit.

While it was all going wrong for the Lions, it was a much improved showing by Borough.

They played with much more fire than the previous week when crashing 27-0 at Market Harborough and for most of the match, certainly in the second half, they looked a better side than Old Scouts.

It was definitely a case of two points lost more than two points gained. With a little more luck they could so easily have snatched a win.

As it was, it took a penalty deep into injury-time to deny them victory. And that was Scouts’ fifth successful kick at goal. They failed to breach a resolute Borough defence for a try whereas Borough crossed three times.

Their first touchdown came after only five minutes when scrum-half Lance Charity nipped through a gap after Ben Crooks had won a lineout close to the Scouts line.

Borough’s second try came on 25 minutes from Chris Sansby after good work at the base of the scrum by Sam Crooks and some crisp handling by Charity, Joe Andresen and Tom Williams.

Scouts kicked two first-half penalties and it was 10-6 at the turnaround.

Borough lost Ben Crooks with a rib injury in the first half and in the second half John Thompson and Chayne Loades to the sin-bin.

But they still managed to camp for virtally the whole of the second half in the Scouts 25 and they were so unlucky not to score four or five tries. Sam Crooks was held up a yard short on four occasions and Dewi Pearce also went close.

As it was they grabbed only one - fittingly scored by man-of-the-match Sam Crooks - to make it 15-9 with 10 minutes to go. Andresen’s conversion attempt bounced the wrong way off the crossbar.

But two late excursions by Scouts into Borough territory brought them two penalties and earned them a draw. And they were mightily relieved to get that.

Apart from Sam Crooks, there were also commendable displays for Borough by Sansby, George Dinsdale and George Offer.