It was a good afternoon (September 12) for Peterborough rugby with both the Lions and Borough enjoying bonus-point wins in the English Clubs Championship.
The Lions made it two wins from two games in National League Division Three by beating newly-promoted Newport 22-9 at Bretton Park while Borough got their Midlands Division Two East campaign off to a positive start by taking the honours 29-3 at Leicester Forest.
The Lions fielded a side showing half a dozen changes from the previous week’s opening success at Longton (42-12) and they gave a very disjointed performance. It was certainly not one of their better displays.
Newport, a very lively set of players full of running, enjoyed the majority of possession and claimed a distinct advantage territorially too.
But once again the Lions were outstanding in defence and they’ve still to concede a try in league rugby this season.
And with so many flair players in their ranks - gifted runners like Vernon Horne, Gedis Marcisauskas and Adam Barnard especially - they have the ability to counter with devastating effect.
In the first half they managed to reach the Newport 22 on just two occasions yet scored a try on each excursion.
The first came after just nine minutes when they broke out of defence through Barnard and moved swiftly upfield thanks to Marcisauskas and Harry Winch. Then they won a lineout through debutant number eight Connor Gracey at the tail and scrum-half Tom Dougherty smartly put Horne over in the corner.
Newport hit back to lead 6-5 after half-an-hour with a drop-goal and penalty but with 33 minutes gone Lions crossed for their second try.
This was scored by flanker Arturius Balcunius after an eye-catching break by Gracey from the base of a scrum, and Will Carrington’s conversion gave the Lions a 12-6 lead at the interval.
Kaz Henderson extended the advantage to 17-6 very early in the second half, finishing off a lovely flowing move that began 40 metres out through John Harlock.
But after that the Lions went off the boil for 20 minutes and Newport were doing all the attacking. Yet all they had to show for their efforts was another penalty.
With 15 minutes to go the Lions put the issue beyond doubt, scoring their bonus-point try through Marcisauskas after great ballwork by Carrington, Winch, Nico Steenkamp, Darrell Ball and Harlock.
The Lions’ win was all the more creditable seeing as they played for 30 minutes with 14 men as Alex Ioannou, Balcunius and Marius Andrijauskas all spent time in the sin-bin.
Lions: Howard, Steenkamp, Ioannou, Harlock, Andrijauskas, Ball, Balcunius, Gracey, Dougherty, Carrington, Winch, Marcisauskas, Henderson, Horne, Barnard. Subs: Lewis, Dunn, Searle.
It was a simliar story over at Leicester Forest. Borough were by no means the dominant force in terms of possession yet they also defended stoutly and gave Forest a lesson in finishing.
The first of their four tries arrived in the seventh minute when centre Rob Jacobs stormed through the middle to touch down for Joe Andresen to convert.
Winger Chris Sansby added the second with one of his customary high-speed bursts and again Andresen added the two points.
John Thompson nipped round the front of a lineout to cross for try number three and Andresen’s conversion made it 21-3 at the turnaround.
The only try in the second half was by Andresen wide out after more strong running by Jacobs.
A late Andersen penalty gave him a personal haul of 14 points.