One more big bridge to cross for the Lions in grand finale

It's a big last day of the English Clubs Championship season on Saturday for many local clubs and especially for Peterborough Lions.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 4:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 4:31 pm
Pictured supporting their team at Bournville are Lions chairman Andy Moore (right) and new club president Mick Royal (second right). Picture: Mick Sutterby

The Bretton-based side have to gain a bonus-point win against Bridgnorth at Solstice Park (kick-off 3pm) to secure a second-place finish in the Midlands Premiership.

And the reward for that is a promotion play-off - most probably away to Northern Premiership runners-up Hull the following weekend when a National League Two spot will be the star prize.

Lions chairman Andy Moore is looking forward to the big day.

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Lions coach Vili Ma'asi chats to his players after Sarurday's win. Picture: Mick Sutterby

He said: “Saturday can’t come soon enough. You can’t get a better end to the season - everything to play for. If we beat Bridgnorth it will happen - we will be in the play-offs for the first time ever.

“I want the people of Peterborough to turn out in force and cheer our lads to victory. They’ve worked their socks off all season and deserve some support.

“It’s a massive match for the club and for rugby in Peterborough.

“If we get those five points Newport can’t catch us whatever they do in the last two games. They can draw level but we’d take second place on having the most wins.”

Owain Pearce on the burst for the Lions against Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby

The Lions warmed up for the big finale with a comfortable 55-36 win away at Bournville.

They scored in the first minute when skipper Chris Humphrey stormed his way in for a try and by half-time further touchdowns had been added by Semisi Sitanislei Tei (2), Ben Young and Tom Lewis and the Lions turned round 31-12 ahead.

That soon became 55-17 as Sitanislei Tei completed his hat-trick, Young added a second and Nico Defeo and Niko Moa crossed in the second half.

With the job completed, the Lions took their foot off the gas and allowed Bournville three late tries.

Semisi Sitanislei Tei scored a hat-trick of tries for the Lions against Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby

The only disappointment for Lions was that two players picked up injuries. Humphrey needed a facial wound stitching and Rory White was carried off with a damaged knee.

Both face late fitness tests for the Bridgnorth game but Tom Gulland and Marius Andrijauskas, who missed Saturday’s match, will return to the squad.

The Lions won 27-26 at Bridgnorth in their first match of the season.

n Elsewhere on Saturday, Spalding need a point from their final game at home to Belper to be safe from relegation in Midlands East Division Three (North), while Bourne need to win at Thorney and hope Deeping pull off a shock win at St Neots to take the Midlands East Division Four (South) title.

Tom Lewis on the run for the Lions at Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby

n In Midlands Division One (East), Borough finish at Fengate with a juicy local derby against Huntingdon (3pm).

Borough will not just be gunning for revenge after losing to the Stags 21-20 in the first game of the season, they’ll also be out to put on a show for their biggest critics - all those former first team ‘stars’ who attend the annual Past Players lunch. And Borough will also want to prevent their losing streak stretching to double figures.

Saturday’s 27-19 defeat at Bugbrooke, where they led 19-12 with 12 minutes to go, was their ninth on the trot.

Borough Ladies also lost at the weekend but their 12-0 defeat at Coalville was their first of the season and they are Midlands Two North champions in the WRFU Championship.

Coach Rich Parsons picked Sarah Ashton and Emma Byatt as his back and forward of the match respectively.

Thorney Old Monks won 37-7 at Stamford to win the local veterans league title.

Sam Crooks attacks for the Lions at Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Scrum-half Andy McGeown trundled over for two tries and their was a rare score for skipper Duncan ‘Disorderly’ Davies.

Hard-working Luke Richardson was man-of-the match for the Monks, who had Ade James sin-binned in the second half following a scuffle with an overkeen youth.

Lions coach Vili Ma'asi chats to his players after Sarurday's win. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Owain Pearce on the burst for the Lions against Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Semisi Sitanislei Tei scored a hat-trick of tries for the Lions against Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Tom Lewis on the run for the Lions at Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Sam Crooks attacks for the Lions at Bournville. Picture: Mick Sutterby