Peterborough Lions’ superb start to the English Clubs Championship season shuddered to a halt in Shropshire this afternoon (October 21).
The table-topping Bretton boys were at third-placed Newport and suffered a first defeat of the season. They went down 41-21 to end a run of six sizzling Midlands Premiership victories.
As a result they’ve slipped down to third place in the table behind Birmingham and Newport.
Chairman Andy Moore said: “It may well turn out to be just the kick up the backside we needed. I think we were getting a bit too comfortable.
“There was no doubt today the best team won on the day. We said beforehand that the team who wanted it most would win and that was Newport.
“We didn’t turn up. Players who should have shone didn’t. Clearly we’re not as infallible as we think we are.
“We’ll take it as a valuable lesson and kick on. It’s not the end of the world because we know we can play a helluva lot better than that.
“But at the end of the day we took our eye off the ball and paid the price.
“Our handling was sloppy and our defence was at sixes and sevens and when that happens teams like Newport will punish you.”
The Lions did actually make a cracking start.
Playing with the advantage of a very stiff breeze and a sloping pitch they went 7-0 up when Wes Cope scored from a rolling maul and Dan Malem added the extras.
Newport edged their way back into the game with a penalty and a converted try but the Lions turned round 14-10 to the good after being awarded a penalty try at the end of the half.
The second half was a different story. Lions kept dropping the ball and Newport used the strong wind to good effect, kicking deep into the corners.
They went 22-14 up and were looking comfortable.
The Lions did snatch another try - number eight Sioki Vaha Taufu’i going over and Malem converting - to bring it back to a point at 22-21 but it was against the run of play and Newport scored three tries their dominance warranted in the closing quarter.