RUGBY

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - By Bob French [email protected]

Peter­bor­ough Li­ons are cer­tainly play­ing much bet­ter . . . but des­per­ately need a change of luck to sur­vive at Na­tional League Two level.

They en­ter­tained ta­ble-top­pers Hull Io­ni­ans at Sol­stice Park, Bret­ton, on Satur­day and turned in a gutsy per­for­mance, dom­i­nat­ing for long spells in the se­cond half.

But pick­ing up a red card af­ter half-an-hour al­most cer­tainly cost them what would have been a huge up­set win in the top ver­sus bot­tom clash and they ended up los­ing 2515.

They were re­duced to 14 men when cen­tre Suva Ma’asi, son of coach Vili, was dis­missed for a high tackle. Most in the Li­ons camp felt it ws an ex­tremely harsh de­ci­sion given that a Hull player who com­mit­ted a sim­i­lar of­fence ear­lier es­caped with­out pun­ish­ment.

“That was not a score that re­flected the game,” in­sisted Li­ons chair­man Andy Moore. “It was a great ef­fort on our part. We’ve given the best team in the league a real run for their money with 14 men. The red card was a harsh de­ci­sion and with­out it I’m sure we’d have got some­thing from the game. I’m gut­ted.

“We worked so hard but we’re just not get­ting the rub of the green. We def­i­nitely de- served a los­ing bonus point if noth­ing else.

“We’ve shown we can com­pete against the best in the league, now we just need de­ci­sions to start go­ing our way for once.

“Hope­fully this per­for­mance and the en­cour­ag­ing dis­plays in the run-up to Christ­mas will be the spring­board to bet­ter re­sults.”

The Li­ons didn’t start that well and found theme­selves 17-0 down be­fore get­ting out of their own half.

But the send­ing-off stirred them into ac­tion. They dug deep and fought back with tries by Jack Askham and Tom Gul­land and it was 20-15 go­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter.

But de­spite boss­ing the clos­ing stages the Li­ons couldn’t get the ball over the line and Hull scored a break­away try on the fi­nal whis­tle to deny the Li­ons what would have been a well de­served los­ing bonus point.

On the plus side for the Li­ons, Kaz Hen­der­son made a wel­come re­turn to the fold af­ter three months out with a bro­ken leg and there was a very im­pres­sive home de­but by Fi­jian winger Sonoma Veikune, a real pow­er­house from the Army.

This Satur­day it’s off to the West Mid­lands and a game against Stour­bridge - a team who have lost four of their last five games in­clud­ing a 40-24 loss at Tynedale at the week­end.

Stour­bridge took the hon­ours 36-7 at Bret­ton back in Septem­ber when the Li­ons were still find­ing their feet at the new level.

PIC­TURE: MICK SUTTERBY

Kaz Hen­der­son makes a smother tackle on a Hull Io­ni­ans player on his re­turn to the Li­ons side af­ter in­jury.

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