Peterborough Lions held onto top spot in the Midlands Premiership this afternoon (October 14) but gave their growing army of followers a few nervous moments along the way.
They took on newly-promoted Newbold-on-Avon in front of a crowd of over 200 at Solstice Park at Bretton and took the honours 31-20 to maintain their one-point advantage over Birmingham at the summit.
But they made harder work of it than expected against a ‘big bunch of old boys’ who intimidated them in the battle up front.
“They came with a mission and to a certain extent it worked,” admitted Lions chairman Andy Moore. “They had some big old boys out there and they caused us a few problems. The referee certainly interpreted things a bit differently to us when we responded and we ended up with all three of our front row forwards in the bin - Josh Waller, Wes Cope and Ben Howard.
“So we certainly made it a bit difficult for ourselves but having said that we were always really in control of the situation. We stepped it up just when we had to to get a sixth bonus-point win from six games. And if we carry on doing that I don’t care whether we win by just one point. Onwards and upwards!”
The Lions flew out of the blocks and were 14-0 up inside seven minutes as first Rory White raced in and then Kaz Henderson touched down. Dan Malem added both conversions.
But then, with it looking so easy for the home side, they took their foot off the gas a bit. They became lacklustre and allowed Newbold to hit back with a penalty and two tries for a shock 15-14 lead.
Those Lions supporters expressing cause for concern though needn’t have worried.
Once again Tongan star Sitanilei Tei Semisi was about to come to the rescue with his customary long-range try.
With half-time approaching the twinkle-toed centre produced something out of nothing, shimmying past three defenders to touch down under the posts for Malem to convert and make it 21-15.
Early in the second half the nerves were calmed still further when White waltzed in for his second try and from then on it was all Lions as they finally got their act together.
Malem crossed for a fifth try, which he converted himself, and there was just time for Newbold to grab their third.