This Lions team is the best I’ve ever had says head coach Fox

Syston get shirty with Lions powerhouse Marius Andrijauskas. Picture: Kevin Goodacre
Syston get shirty with Lions powerhouse Marius Andrijauskas. Picture: Kevin Goodacre
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Peterborough Lions head coach Darren Fox is a hard taskmaster and a difficult man to please.

But at the moment even he’s wearing a broad smile as his players continue to impress.

They made it eight wins from nine National League Division Three games with a 26-10 demolition of Syston in the Lions den at Bretton Park on Saturday and Fox was delighted.

He said: “Of course there’s always room for improvement - that’s why we train. But, I have to say we’re playing really well at the moment.

“In fact, I’d go as far as to say this is the best Lions team I’ve had in the one and a half seasons I’ve been here.

“The lads work hard in training. They listen and they learn and I’m pleased they’re getting the rewards.

“Everything is positive at the moment. We’re back in the winning groove and everyone’s enjoying their rugby.”

The Lions were strengthened on Saturday by the inclusion of loan signings Josh Waller and Pete Kolakowski from National League Division Two club Cambridge.

Prop Waller was an England Under 18 player three seasons ago and second row Kolakowski, who plays for British Police, is a former Lions player/coach.

Both played key roles and will be in the squad again on Saturday for the re-arranged trip to Old Halesonians.

And with regular second row Matt Dunn fit again after recovering from a shoulder injury, Fox has a selection dilemma.

“It’s a headache, yes, but it’s a nice headache to have,” he said. “To have competition for places is fantastic - long may it continue.”

Brilliant counter-attacking full-back De La Rey Veenendaal returned from injury against Syston and set up two of the four Lions tries - for Sam Crooks and Adam Barnard - with scintillating breaks from deep. Crooks went on to complete a hat-trick.

But Veenendaal aggravated his groin injury and faces a late fitness test on Saturday.

Old Halesonians, third in the table, suffered a 28-10 defeat at home to second-placed Scunthorpe last Saturday.

“That means they’ll be fired up and they’ll be in our faces straight away,” said Fox. “Hopefully we’ll be ready for them. I know we have the skill set to beat most teams. So long as we turn up mentally and physically we should be okay.”

BOROUGH

Borough were beaten for the fourth game on the trot in Midlands Division Two East (South) when crashing 36-8 at home to Oadby.

Once again lack of muscle proved to be their undoing and vice-chairman Archie Bennett said: “We need some grunt up front . . . and quick.”

OUNDLE

Oundle have gone 14 points clear at the head of affairs in Midlands Division Three East (South).

While they were winning 51-19 at St Neots, closest rivals Long Buckby were getting stuffed 48-17 by Stockwood Park.

Big winger Ross Davies crossed for a hat-trick of tries for Oundle.

THORNEY

Thorney fielded three senior sides for the first time in the club’s history on Saturday.

The first team narrowly lost 12-7 to Bedford Queens while the vets took on the second team in an inter-club game and won by a point.

SPALDING

Spalding held a minute’s silence before their game at home to Melbourne on Saturday in memory of their chairman Geof Nichols.

Geof, who was 72, died on Friday after an 18-month battle with leukaemia. He was associated with Spalding for 35 years and spent more than two decades as chairman.

Spalding lost the game 20-17 and are still deep in relegation trouble in Midlands Division Two East (North).