It was a great afternoon for Peterborough Lions in the English Clubs Championship.
They narrowed the gap on Midlands Premiership leaders Birmingham to just two points with a 55-28 win over Longton at Bretton and gained an advantage on their main rivals for the promotion play-off spot.
Birmingham’s game against Doncaster was postponed while third-placed Newport suffered a shock 10-9 defeat at Nuneaton.
The table now reads Birmingham played 14, 67 points; Peterborough Lions played 17, 65 points, Newport played 15, 53 points.
It was another powerful all-round showing from the Lions who always looked likely winners once centre Rory White had raced in on seven minuets for a try converted by Nico Defeo.
“They kept coming back at us through their big forwards but we were always in control,” said Lions chairman Andy Moore. “They were strong up front and the muddy, boggy conditions suited them. They were good at sticking it up their jumpers and running at us.
“With Newport losing today, it’s all in our hands now. That second place is ours to lose. If we keep winning nobody can catch us. It’s a big if but we’ll give it one helluva go.”
By half-time the Lions had scored four more tries - two converted by Defeo - and turned round 31-14 ahead.#
Conor Gracey and Jack Lewis crossed and Tongan star Sitandei Semisi Tei scorched in from the half-way line for two sizzling touchdowns.
Semisi Tei went on to complete his hat-trick - again with a dazzling long-range effort - and further tries were added by Gracey, Dan Malem and Defeo.
Defeo added two more conversions.
New Tongan hooker Niko Moa made his Lions debut but came off after 20 minutes with a knee injury.