There was a fantastic start to 2017 for Peterborough’s two teams in the English Clubs Championship today (January 7).
The Lions resumed their National League Division Three campaign at Longton and cruised home 44-18 while Borough smashed Oakham 46-7 at Fengate to improve their position at the top of Midlands Division Two East (South).
Andy Moore, the Lions chairman, was thrilled to bits with his side’s showing, which saw them move up four places to fifth in the table.
“It was magnificent - classic Lions rugby. We’re back with a bang and I’m delighted,” he said.
“Longton were big lads but we were too powerful for them up front and too lively for them outside. We’re looking like the Lions of old. Everything just clicked into place today and that’s seven wins and a draw from our last nine games. There’s a real buzz within the club at the moment.
“We had a new full-back - a Lithuanian called Alanes Alasauskas who’s been playing in South Africa - and he did really well on his debut and we also managed to overcome the loss of losing a prop before the game started. That was when Ben Howerd bent down to take something out of his bag in the changing room and did his back in.
“So it shows we’ve got a bit of strength in depth as well. It sets us up a treat for next week’s big home game against league leaders Nuneaton.”
Lions had Longton on the back foot from the start and were 6-0 up after eight minutes through two Will Carrington penalties.
That had increased to 18-0 by half-time with Cambridge loanee Adam Enright, who had a super game on the wing, and centre Tom Lewis touching down for tries, one of which Carrington converted.
A further four tries were added in the second half by skipper Chris Humphrey, Tongan Peni Faingaa, Carrington and Cyprus international prop Alex Iannou.
Carrington kicked three of the four conversions.
Borough achieved their big win despite being without the services of three key regulars - Tom Williams (university exams), Stuart Day (wedding) and Michael Bean (injured).
Those who came in - Tabaka Kanhukamwe, Dean Heymans and Ben Edwards - all turned out be able replacements as Borough dominated from the word go.
They spent most of the first half in the Oakham 22 and the long spells of intense pressure were rewarded with three lovely tries.
The first came from full-back Danis Tomoliunas after a telling break by stand-off Joe Andresen, the second from scrum-half Harry Roe courtesy of impressive approach play by star flanker Sarel Pretorius and winger Chris Sansby, and the third from teenage talent Kanhukamwe after Tomoliunas had launched an attack from deep with a blistering 40-yard burst.
Tomoliunas kicked one conversion to make the interval advantage 17-0.
The second half started well for Oakham and they snatched a converted try while Borough were short-handed following the sin-binning of Edwards.
But once Ben Higton powered over for Borough’s fourth try after a charge by number eight Paulius Strigonas on 53 minutes, it was game over at 22-7.
Oakham faded fast and Borough ran in four more tries before the final whistle - even though they suffered two more sin-binnings (Heymans and Pretorius).
Prop Nico Steenkamp bulldozed his way over after a smart lineout take by skipper John Thompson, Andresen scored an eye-catching solo effort from the halfway line, Thompson cashed in on some good foraging by Zak McClure, and finally Tomoliunas added his second after a speedy dash down the wing by Stefan Gallucci.
Andresen added two conversions.
Borough have extended their lead at the top over Old Laurentians to eight points. Oundle, who are third, beat Old Laurentians 30-25 today.
In the same division Stamford were 25-18 winners at home to Market Harborough.