Lions visited Fortress Fengate, home of Peterborough RFC in the second round of the National Cup aware of the threat they posed having scored 80 points in their last two league outings including a convincing ‘W’ over our OL’s neighbours; without doubt they were going to be a tough nut to crack, writes Player Coach Rob Dignum.

And weren’t they half! Upon arrival, 15 Ivan Drago’s in body shape and temperament, this was going to take a Rocky IV effort to topple them. Their side littered with Lithuanian and Estonian Internationals, with a splatter of South African thrown in for good measure, backed by a hostile home crowd the odds were stacked against us.

I imagine their match report will read, could, should and might… the fact remains however, despite the score line this was a good showing by Lions as we again learnt a lot about ourselves in tough circumstances… when we clicked we sored, when we fluffed our lines we gifted points.

Lions enjoyed early dominance and held off Peterborough’s strong and angry attacks to score three first half tries via Sam Herrington, Andy Bowyer and Chris Wood. Peterborough’s score’s coming by way of two penalties and an unfortunate interception to go in to the break with a relatively comfortable 11-22 lead. There was calm at half time as we just needed to address a few minor errors in order to further retain ball, go through the phases and score.

This was when the game turned on its head with the Leicestershire official blowing his whistle at every opportunity and awarding the home side every penalty imaginable, some implausible. To make matters worse, Peterborough sensed this and enjoyed their purple patch for a prolonged period during the second forty. The home side crossed early on and pulled the score back to 19-22 before Sam Herrington crossed to take Lions 19-29 out in front. Likely one of the more defining moments of the game came around the 65 minute mark when Lions were again on the attack 5m from the Peterborough line… the ball was mysteriously stolen by a player on his hands and knees at the base of the ruck as Peterborough made their way up field; three mysterious penalties later and now 90m backwards on our own 5m line, an un-hooked scrum and their 8 gleefully leapt over the line to bring the game to 26-29 for a squeaky bum last few minutes of the game. Lions held out however to record a good tough win on the road. Their players and supporters and to a large extent the whistle had thrown just about everything they had at us, Peterborough were visibly wounded not to be in the hat for the third round draw.

We wish them well in their league campaign, on Saturday’s evidence they will cause sides problems all season. Further to this, on behalf of all at Lions thank you to all at PRFC for your kind hospitality.

This game was very much a case of just what the Doctor ordered, as we dug ourselves into a bit of a hole and triumphed during testing circumstances. Joe Higgins enjoyed another strong showing and was particularly good in front of the posts, similarly all in the pack again can hold their heads high. Despite the usual misconception that we Lions all dine out on caviar this was a proper game of grassroots rugby, it had it all; niggle, staunch no holds barred performances from both sides, indifferent officiating and two sets of supporters enjoying their afternoon.  That said, we now turn our attention back to the league where we have two tricky opponents at Webb Ellis Road in the next fortnight, Pinley and particularly  Spartans the following week, the leagues form side who have walloped all before them to date…

Fantastic time to be a Lion.               

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