Peterborough Lions were unable to apply the finishing touch to their magnificent season last night (May 2).
The Bretton-based side were at Bedford Blues’ Goldington Road ground for the East Midlands Cup final but lost their last game of 2017-2018 to Bedford Athletic 30-19.
The cup holders went into the game as red-hot favourites after clinching promotion to the National League four days ago with a brilliant play-off win at Hull.
But that supreme effort in East Yorkshire took its toll.
“We were physically and mentally drained,” said Lions chairman Andy Moore. “The boys put so much into that game at Hull . . . there wasn’t much left in the tank. The cup final was one game too many for us.
“We only produced our best form in fits and starts. Bedford Ath came flying out of the blocks, they were really up for it, and we were 18-0 down after 27 minutes.
“We got it back to 23-19 just after half-time but that was as close as we got. The right team won on the night. Fair play to Ath, they deserved it.
“Normally I’d be suicidal after a result like this but to be honest, after what we achieved on Saturday, I’m not that disappointed.”
The Lions try-scorers were Sam Crooks, Jack Lewis and Nico Defeo with the latter adding two conversions.
Lions line-up: Josh Waller, Jack Lewis, Joe Lee, Sam Crooks, Marius Andrijauskas, Tom Lewis, Conor Gracey, Tom Gulland, Tom Dougherty, Ben Young, Kaz Henderson, Nico Defeo, Semisi Sitanislei Tei, Ashley Hill, Dan Malem.