Borough one win from glory . . . and Lions in title contention too
Three local clubs could be celebrating English Clubs Championship success next month.
Saturday’s results all went in favour of Peterborough Lions, Borough and Oundle and they’re all in with a chance of promotion as the season enters the final furlong.
Borough are likely to be first over the line. They beat Stamford 27-12 in the local derby at Hambleton Road on Saturday and with closest rivals Old Laurentians suffering a shock 45-14 loss at Market Harborough, the city side are just one win away from becoming champions of Midlands East Division Two (South).
They now have an 18-point lead at the summit with four games still to play and the champagne corks could well be popping after their next game at Fengate against Belgrave on March 25.
The Market Harborough result was also a massive boost for Oundle, who are chasing the runners-up spot behind Borough and a promotion play-off place.
They walloped Belgrave 62-3 and have now moved up to third, level on points with second-placed Oadby Wyggestonians and just above Old Laurentians.
Oundle are at home to Oadby on April 8 and they also have a tricky trip to Market Harborough to negotiate before then.
Two rungs higher up the English Clubs Championship ladder at National League Division Three level, it’s nowhere near as clear-cut.
Any one of five teams are still in with a shout of finishing first and second and Peterborough Lions are one of them.
A magnificent run of nine successive victories - the latest a 28-24 triumph at Bedford Athletic on Saturday - has put them in the mix.
They’re fourth in the table at the moment but now only six points behind new leaders Broadstreet, who they play at Bretton Park on April 8.
“It’s squeaky bum time,” said Lions chairman Andy Moore. “There are always strange results at this time of year. Who’d have thought Nuneaton would have lost at Bridgnorth (21-8) on Saturday.
“Broadstreet are coming to Bretton and still have Nuneaton to play and Sheffield have still got to play Birmingham. It’s all to play for and it’s all about staying focused.
“But let’s face it, wherever we finish is a monumental achievement after the dreadful start we had. It took us six games to get our first win.
“So all credit to Foxy (headcoach Darren Fox) and the boys for turning it round.”
The Lions did all their scoring at Bedford Athletic in the first half . They scored four tries - a penalty try and touchdowns by Ben Howard, Jack Lewis and Nico Defeo - and then survived a strong second-half fightback by Athletic.
Borough played their best rugby at Stamford in the second half.
They turned round just 7-5 to the good thanks to a Ben Edwards try but ran in four tries playing down the slope after the interval through Harry Roe, Joe Andresen (2) and Ben Higton.
Robb Shingles went over twice as Oundle scored eight tries - all of which were converted by Jaco Steenberg. He also kicked two penalties for a 22-point haul.