MATCH REPORT: Lions roar to promotion play-off victory

Chairman Andy Moore celebrates promotion with his players. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Chairman Andy Moore celebrates promotion with his players. Picture: Mick Sutterby
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They’ve done it! Peterborough Lions will be playing National League rugby next season.

The Bretton-based boys beat Hull 31-22 in a promotion play-off in East Yorkshire this afternoon (April 28) and will be plying their trade in National League Two in September.

The Lions supporters enjoy their big moment. Picture: Mick Sutterby

The Lions supporters enjoy their big moment. Picture: Mick Sutterby

They became the first city side ever to reach the fourth tier of the sport and they did it in style.

The Lions finished runners-up in the Midlands Premiership with 21 wins and 102 points and Hull finished second in the Northern Premiership with 20 wins and 106 points so a close game was expected. But it was the Lions who always had the edge in a tough, physical battle.

They outscored their opponents by five tries to three displaying their usual exciting mix of pace, power and panache.

“We were awesome. We were too good for them. We controlled the game. They couldn’t handle the pace of our backs,” said a delighted Lions chairman Andy Moore.

Ben Young leads the Lions celebrations. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Ben Young leads the Lions celebrations. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“It’s the dream - it’s finally arrived. I set out to get a Peterborough team playing national league rugby and I’ve done it.

“I couldn’t be more happier. I must admit I shed a little tear at the end. It was an emotional moment for me.

“I’d like to thank all the people who came along to support us today, including the hierarchy from Borough and Oundle.

“The crowd were immense and certainly helped the side.”

Lions try-scorer Niko Moa. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Lions try-scorer Niko Moa. Picture: Mick Sutterby

The Lions were quick off the mark and on five minutes had their first try on the board as fly-half Ben Young squeezed through a gap to touch down.

Hull came back with a converted try to lead 7-5 . . . but only for a minute.

The Lions responded instantly with a corker of a try from Tongan tearaway Semisi Sitanislei Tei from about 30 metres out and five minutes later he repeated the feat. Both were converted by Nico Defeo giving Lions a 19-7 lead at the break.

That soon became 26-7 when hooker Niko Moa, another Tongan, bulldozed his way over for a try, converted by Defeo, and then strong-running winger Kaz Henderson put the issue beyond doubt with the fifth Lions try.

We are going up  . . . the Lions celebrate their promotion at Hull. Picture: Mick Sutterby

We are going up . . . the Lions celebrate their promotion at Hull. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Hull kicked a penalty and scored two tries in the last 10 minutes - the second a penalty try - but they were never going to silence the Lions roar.

Both teams play in cup finals on Wednesday night. The Lions will be defending the East Midlands Cup when they take on Bedford Athletic in the decider at Bedford Blues while Hull meet Doncaster Phoenix in the Yorkshire Cup final.

Lions chairman Andy Moore speaking after the game. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Lions chairman Andy Moore speaking after the game. Picture: Mick Sutterby