Lions just a game awayfrom National League

One more mighty shove will do it.

Thursday, 26th April 2018, 4:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th April 2018, 4:36 pm
Peterborough Lions pictured after clinching runners-up spot in the Midlands Premiership. Picture: Mick Sutterby

A pride of Lions have been on the National League prowl since September. Now Peterborough Lions have the chance to claw in the biggest prize ever attained in local club rugby.

By beating Bridgnorth 38-12 last Saturday in their final Midlands Premiership fixture of the season, the Lions have earned the right to battle for a place in National League Two.

Standing in their way in the promotion play-off in East Yorkshire on Saturday (3pm kick-off) are Hull, who finished runners-up in the Northern Premiership.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Tom Gulland races in for a Lions try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“All we need is one more final push and we’re over that line.

“We’re almost there - the dream is close to becoming a reality,” said Lions chairman and club founder Andy Moore.

“Eight years ago we were playing level 10 rugby right at the foot of the league ladder. Now look at us . . . runners-up in the Midlands Premiership, which in itself is a great achievement, and within sniffing distance of National League Two.

“It’s unbelievable. I said five years ago my ambition was to take this club into the National Legaue and thanks to a superb effort from the players and the coaching staff this season, we can pull it off.

Tom Lewis drives forward for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“Of course Hull will be no mugs - they’ve beaten off some good teams to finish second in their league - but we’re making the trip with confidence sky high and with stacks of travelling support. If we don’t outplay them I bet we outshout them!”

Moore went on to say that at first he considered the Lions change from a power game to a more adventurous style of play this season under new Tongan coach Vili Ma’asi was a ‘bit too risky’. But he was proved wrong.

He added: “Fair play to Vili, he’s done it his way and we have finished second in the league playing some of the most beautiful rugby ever seen at this level. We run it from anywhere and everywhere no matter who we’re up against.

“I know we’ve been christened the ‘Beasts from the East’ but we have added a bit more flair to our game.

Suva Ma'asi scored a try for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“But that’s not to say we don’t still have that power up front. If Hull are expecting a bunch of Southern softies to turn up, they’re in for a shock. And our defence has been terrific. Some of our tackling makes your eyes water.”

Saturday’s win over Bridgnorth came at a cost. Props Chris Cutts and Alex Ioannou both went off with leg injuries and are doubts for the Hull showdown. Tom Jones should be fit enough to make a return though.

Sam Crooks and Marius Andrijauskas will also be added to the squad after missing the Bridgnorth game.

Semisi Sitanislei Tei on the run for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Lions coach Vili Ma'asi, pictured with his director of rugby SImon Moyle and club chairman Andy Moore (blazer), chats to the players after the win over Bridgnorth. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Tom Gulland races in for a Lions try. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Tom Lewis drives forward for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Suva Ma'asi scored a try for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Semisi Sitanislei Tei on the run for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Lions coach Vili Ma'asi, pictured with his director of rugby SImon Moyle and club chairman Andy Moore (blazer), chats to the players after the win over Bridgnorth. Picture: Mick Sutterby