Peterborough Lions survived a heart-stopping finish to get their National League Division Three campaign back on track yesterday (October 3).
The city side played over half the game with 14 men (and the final 10 minutes of the first half with 13) following a red card for Nico Steenkamp following a dangerous tackle and the sin-binning of Will Carrington, but their efforts looked to be in vain when hosts Old Northamptonians went over for a try in the corner in the final minute to reduce their deficit to one point at 18-17.
But the last-gasp conversion was missed by the teenage son of former England and Northampton Saints fly-half Paul Grayson meaning Lions could celebrate their first win in three matches.
“It was blood and thunder from the start,” Lions chairman Andy Moore said. “It’s our local derby in our division and it played out like one. We did very well to fight ourselves back into the game a man down, but it looked like we would lose it from the last kick. It was a difficult conversion though.”
Saints started the game in ferocious fashion against a Lions side still depleted by injury and an Army World Cup call-up for skipper Darrell Ball and they were rewarded for their early pressure with a converted try.
Carrington quickly reduced the arrears with a penalty, but another try saw the home side 12-3 ahead at the break. Steenkamp had already left the field, but Lions defended well with 13 men and started punching holes in the ONs defence with 14 men.
Constant pressure on the line finally led to a short-range try from John Harlock and when Chris Humphrey broke from a maul and barged over from 20 yards Lions had hit the front. Carrington converted one try and added another penalty to leave Lions 18-12 in front, a lead they protected until the final minute
Lions player-coach Darren Fox pulled out of the match with an injury. He hopes to be fit for the trip to Syston next Saturday (October 10).
Borough were without a game yesterday. They host unbeaten Melton Mowbray in Midlands Division Two East (South) on October 10.