Skipper Crooks will be next to quit Borough for the Lions

Sam Crooks in action for Borough against Oakham last month. Picture: Tim Gates
Sam Crooks in action for Borough against Oakham last month. Picture: Tim Gates
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Borough Rugby Club look set to lose another of their prize assets to Peterborough Lions.

Sam Crooks, Borough’s first team skipper for the past two seasons, is the next player expected to tread the now familiar path from Fengate to Bretton Park.

Crooks has been absent from the Borough side for the past month due to a shoulder injury but he has been training with the Lions.

And he’s expected to put pen to paper with the National League Division Three side very soon.

The tall, strong-running number eight stands out for Borough at Midlands Division Two level and it will be interesting to see how he fares two rungs higher up the English Clubs Championship ladder.

Lions chairman Andy Moore said: “Sam came to us saying he had a desire to play at a higher level and obviously our coach Darren Fox has liked the look of him in training.

“As with all new players, we welcome him to Bretton Park and hope he does well.”

Crooks’ departure will be a blow to Borough but they’ve got used to finding able replacements from within and nurturing young talent.

And on Saturday they certainly showed that trait when blasting Biggleswade 67-8 in a Christmas cracker of a match at Fengate.

They were missing eight regular first teamers through injury and coach Lee Adamson was forced to raid the second team for replacements.

And on the evidence of Saturday’s sizzling display some of them might not be second teamers for much longer.

Biggleswade had no answer to the pace of the Borough backs and they all scored tries. Chris Sansby scorched in for three, Adam Kimber got two and there was one apiece for Rob Jacobs, Johnny Anderson, Harry Roe and Graeme McWhinnie.

Hard-working second row Stefan Almond also crossed to make it the perfect 10 tries.

Man-of-the-match for Borough was soldier Kyle Bratt who made a stunning first team debut at seven.

Borough seconds were also victorious despite losing loads of players to the first team.

They beat Spalding seconds 31-27 with tries by Steff Gallucci, Andy Barringer, Tom Stuffins and Luke Bailey.

Gallucci was making a welcome return to the club and along with Jack Drewery was the pick of the Borough backs.

Peterborough Lions meanwhile made it five wins from their last six National League games with an impressive 31-12 triumph at Newport.

They owed their success to a terrific 20-minute spell early in the second half when their forwards turned on the power to create three fabulous tries for Adam Barnard, Kaz Henderson and Chris Cutts.

Those three tries made the score 31-5 and it killed off the opposition.

They did apply a fair bit of pressure towards the end and grabbed a converted try five minutes from full-time but it was all too little too late.

The first half had been a much more even affair, but ended 12-5 in Lions’ favour thanks to tries from Harry Winch and Matt Dunn.

“It was another really good all-round performance and I’m chuffed to bits.The result was a great Christmas present,” said Moore.

“What really won it for us was that 20-minute spell in the second half. Our forwards moved up a notch and we absolutely smashed them.

“Clearly we are doing something right at the moment. We appear to have turned the corner and I’m more than happy.”

Elsewhere in the English Clubs Championship, Spalding enjoyed back-to-back wins in Midlands Two East (North) for the first time this season as they battered Bakewell Mannerians 57-8.

Harry Harrison was the star of the show, helping himself to four of their nine tries.

In the same division, but at the other end of the table, title-chasing Stamford drew 15-15 with visitors Ashbourne. Stamford are second and Ashbourne third.

There was a shock in Midlands Division Three East (South) as leaders Oundle suffered a first defeat of the campaign when losing 13-12 at home to Northampton Casuals.