Lions roar to a National League win at last

Lions chairman Andy Moore celebrates today's famous win. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Lions chairman Andy Moore celebrates today's famous win. Picture: Mick Sutterby
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There were wild celebrations at Solstice Park, Bretton, this afternoon (October 6) as Peterborough Lions achieved their first National League win at the sixth attempt.

They entertained Chester and emerged deserved 17-10 victors thanks to an opportunist try three minutes from the end by fly-half Ben Young.

Ben Young scores the winning try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Ben Young scores the winning try. Picture: Mick Sutterby

And the city side were well worth their first four pointer in National League Division Two North.

Chester arrived with a perfect four wins out of four but for long spells in today’s clash in the rain they were outplayed by a vibrant Lions side.

Vila Ma’asi’s men hogged possession for much of the contest and spent almost the entire first half deeply entrenched in the Chester half. And they also enjoyed territorial advantage for a great deal of the second period as well.

Yet, frustratingly for all in the Lions camp, they found getting points on the board difficult. Refereeing decisions frequently went against them when they created the perfect platform from which to score or else they messed up the end-product themselves with wayward passing.

Lions captain Conor Gracey is collared. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Lions captain Conor Gracey is collared. Picture: Mick Sutterby

A score of 10-3 to the visitors at half-time was not a fair refelction of play at all. Chester ventured only three times into the Lions half yet picked up tries on two of the forays - one after four minutes and another after 40 minutes. In between Young slotted a penalty for the Lions in the fifth minute.

Big back row man Aki Lea had been the Lions most threatening player in the first half so it came as a bad blow when he was yellow carded right at the end of the period.

And 14 men then became 13 as Jake Carter joined him in the sin bin for an illegal tackle.

But the Lions weathered the storm and when back up to 15 players they set about their business with serious intent.

Aki Lea scores the first Lions try much to the delight of Tom Dougherty. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Aki Lea scores the first Lions try much to the delight of Tom Dougherty. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Lea fittingly scored their first try midway through after Josh Waller, Shaquille Meyers, Carter and Lea himself had all been held up a foot short.

Young’s conversion levelled it up at 10-10 and the Lions pressed hard for the decider.

Conor Gracey became the third Lions player to be sin-binned after a high tackle but the Lions, with Lea and Tom Lewis putting in some great runs, continued to look the more likely to score.

And with 77 minutes gone, Young charged down a kick and scooped the ball up to sprint 25 yards for a touchdown under the posts, which he also converted.

A delighted Lions chairman Andy Moore said: “I told you the win was on its way after we did so well at South Leicester last week. That was the turning point really, scoring five tries there and moving off the bottom of the league.

“We deserved it today. We were the better side. We’ve stuck at it, worked hard and kept to the gameplan. Today it’s paid off and all the players and the coaching team deserve a pat on the back.”

Lions: Josh Waller, Charley Robinson, Alex Ioannou, Tom Lewis, Maris Andrijauskas, Jake Carter, Conor Gracey, Aki Lea, Franco Perticaro, Ben Young, Allen Carr, Nico Defeo, Suva Ma’asi, Rory White, Shaquille Meyers. Subs: Tom Dougherty, Chris Cutts, Jack Lewis, Ashley Hill, Christian Edbrooke.