Peterborough Lions gave their coach Darren Fox the ideal send-off last night (April 26).
Fox was in charge of the Bretton-based side for the last time before taking up a new coaching role at higher grade Cambridge and he saw his players defeat Bedford Athletic 27-11 to win the East Midlands Cup final at Bedford Blues ground.
It was Fox’s first piece of silverware in three years at the helm of the Lions and the result was no real surprise.
Both the Lions and Bedford Athletic were National League Division Three rivals this season but whereas the Lions finished fourth and were very much promotion contenders until the last three games, Bedford Athletic finished second from bottom and were relegated.
But the match certainly didn’t go quite to form in the early stages as Athletic, the cup holders, flew out of the traps. They dominated the opening quarter playing some of their finest attacking rugby of the season.
They deservedly took the lead on 10 minutes when Josh McCann touched down from a lineout.
It took Lions until the 17th minute to arrive in the Bedford 22 and on 23 minutes Will Carrington kicked their first penalty of the day.
Soon after, the Lions had Sam Crooks sin-binned but they took a 10-5 lead when awarded a penalty try on the half-hour mark after a series of five-metre scrums. Carrington added the conversion.
An early attack from the Lions in the second half resulted in a try for Jack Lewis to make it 15-5 but Athletic were undaunted by the ten-point deficit and came fighting back with two penalties.
But that was as close as they got as the Lions made the game safe with two further tries - one from Tom Dougherty after a telling break by Dean Elmore and the other by Adrian Enwright in the corner. Carrington added one more conversion.
The Lions last won the trophy in 2014 - the only other time they have played in the competition.