It was all smiles for Peterborough rugby today (November 21) as both the Lions and Borough won away in the English Clubs Championship.
The Lions made it two wins on the trot in National League Division Three with a 22-17 win at Birmingham & Solihull while Borough’s run of five losses in Midlands Division Two East (South) came to an end at Vipers where they won 27-20.
And both wins came with a bonus point as the two city sides each ran in four tries.
The Lions’ win sent them up to ninth in the table - three points clear of the drop zone - with Birmingham sinking to the bottom of the pile.
Although it was Birmingham who had the fierce gale at their backs in the first half they never really made it count. They dominated territorially but found the Lions defence hard to penetrate and scored only one try.
The Lions, however, managed to cross for three. The first came from rapidly improving winger Kaz Henderson, the second from full-back Ray Veenendaal after some great work by Arturius Balcunius and Henderson, and the third by fly-half Will Carrington following a succession of powerful surges by the Lions pack.
That made it 15-10 to the Lions at the interval and that quickly became 22-10 as Vernon Horne blasted his way through three tackles to score the bonus-point try, which was converted by Carrington.
Then, just as it looked as though the Lions were going to cruise home, the old yellow card habit resurfaced and into the bin went Gedis Marcisauskas and Matt Dunn.
Birmingham raised their game, sensing they could cash in on the Lions’ ill-discipline.
But, despite applying bags of pressure, they only scored one try. Heroes in a dogged defensive display by the Lions in the last 10 minutes were skipper Chris Humphrey, number eight Connor Gracey and prop Ben Howard.
“We tackled like trojans at the end to keep them out but more importantly we’re scoring tries again,” said chairman Andy Moore.
“And if you keep scoring tries you win games.
“I think the win last weekend against Sutton Coldfield gave everyone a lift and we played with a lot more fire in our bellies today.
“And the young lads who were thrown in to cover for injured players earlier in the season are just getting better and better.”
Over at Vipers, Borough faced the elements in the first half and were soon 12-0 in arrears.
But by half-time they had edged ahead 15-12 with first flanker Jack Gunn crossing for a try and then prop Stuart Day bundling his way over. Joe Andresen kicked a conversion and penalty.
Chris Sansby darted over early in the second half for a try converted by Andresen and Borough led 20-12. But a try and penalty conceded against the run of play saw the score levelled at 20-20 with a quarter-of-an-hour to go.
Then up popped Gunn again to settle the nerves by scoring the matchwinning try after splendid work by Jonny Beale. Andresen’s conversion made it 27-20.
Borough then lost Cheyne Loades to the sin-bin for the last 10 minutes but hung on for a much-needed victory.
Day and Rob Moulds were outstanding for Borough up front while there was a welcome return to first team action for 41 year-old prop James Clarke.