MATCH REPORTS: Same old story as Lions and Borough bag bonus-point wins
There was a familiar ring to the English Clubs Championship results involving Peterborough teams today (March 11).
Yet again there were bonus-point victories for both Peterborough Lions in National League Division Three and for Borough two levels below in Midlands East Division Two (South).
The Lions were at relegation-threatened Bedford Athletic and took the honours 28-24 while Borough were at local rivals Stamford and won 27-12.
It was a ninth championship win on the trot for the Lions and it keeps them in fourth place in the table with a promotion play-off place still within range.
Table-toppers Borough, who have suffered only one league loss all season (and that was on the opening day of the campaign back in September), are now within sniffing distance of the title and promotion back to Midlands Division One.
With Old Laurentians losing 45-14 at Market Harborough, Borough have increased their lead to 18 points and victory in two weeks time against Belgrave should complete the job.
The Lions were by no means at their best and owed success to an excellent first-half showing. Their second-half performance was not so hot.
They led 28-7 at the turnaround after scoring four tries all converted by Will Carrington.
The first was a penalty try after Athletic infringed once too often in an attempt to combat powerful rolling mauls by the Lions forwards.
The second and third touchdowns - by Ben Howard and Jack Lewis - were also the result of dominant forward play, and the fourth was a a solo effort by fly-half Nico Defeo, who jinked in under the posts.
The Lions lost their way - and certainly their discipline - in the second half and allowed the Bedford boys back into the match.
Athletic scored three more tries with two of them arriving while the Lions were down to 13 men following the sin-binning of Defeo and Darren Fox. The visitors also lost influential skipper Chris Humphrey to injury.
The Lions weathered the storm though and were actually on top for the last 10 minutes when the sin-binners returned.
“It was an exciting local derby in front of a good crowd and it was definitely a game of two halves,” said Lions chairman Andy Moore. “We were excellent in the first half but our discipline went out of the window in the second half and they cashed in.
“All credit to Bedford Athletic. They’d done their homework and exploited our weaknesses. But we were too good a side to lose and we’re still keeping the pressure on the top teams around us.”
Borough have been smashing sides by 50 points of late but they faced stubborn and often fiery resistance at Stamford.
“They were up for it and gave us a real test in what was a typical hard-fought local derby,” said Borough vice-chairman Archie Bennett.
“Our forwards played well but our backs weren’t at their best this week.
“But at the end of the day we came here to do a job - secure a bonus-point win - and that’s exactly what we did.”
Stamford did actually score first but it was Borough who led 7-5 at the interval through a Ben Edwards close-range try converted by Joe Andresen.
In the second half, with Borough enjoying slope advantage, they added four more tries through Harry Roe, Ben Higton and Andresen (2).