Peterborough Lions 15 v 25 Hull Ionians
By Malcolm Knowles
Bad light stops play.
“Social scientists” claim that the most depressing day of the year is the third Monday of January. It will have to be awful if it is to be worse than Saturday in Peterborough. True, Ionians won 15 – 25, but they limped over the line against a Peterborough side who were left to battle hard for an hour after Suva Maasi was dismissed for foul play (a harsh decision by general consensus).
Ionians made a promising start, pinning the Lions in their own half, and they took a deserved lead with a Lewis Minikin penalty, despite being reduced to 14 after Lewis Wilson was dispatched after a fracas erupted following an ill-judged tackle from Billy Hardy.
The visitors extended the lead after 20 minutes when a penalty was drilled into touch and the resulting line-out was turned in field to create a gap down the touch line for Sam Wilson to exploit, diving in at the corner for the opening try. Minikin goaled from out wide and Ionians were in front, 0 – 10.
Within moments of the re-start Peterborough were dealt what should have been a fatal blow, the removal of Maasi. It galvanised the hosts who, despite falling further behind to a well constructed try finished by Ed Falkingham, came more into the game led forward by No 8 Connor Gracy and prompted by diminutive scrum-half Franco Pertico.
Peterborough laid siege to the Ionians line in the closing minutes of the first half and they gained just reward when the constant bombardment opened a gap for Jack Askam to barge over.
The second half started in similar vein, with Peterborough camped close to the Ionians line and they further reduced the deficit with Tom Gulland burrowing his way to the line from close range. Meyers added the conversion and the Lions roared back into the contest, only 12 – 17 in arrears.
Another Lewis Minikin penalty put some small distance between the sides and a brief revival of the league leaders attacking play suggested that they may run away with the match in the final quarter. Unfortunately, they flattered to deceive and it was the lions who registered next on the score-sheet with a penalty for Ben Young.
Ionians had to wait until the final minute to crack the resolute home rear guard. Sam Wilson chased a lost cause but it pushed Peterborough deep into their own 22. They were unable to clear the danger and Ionians moved the ball across the field and a long pass gave sufficient space for Ben Whyte to race in.
There was barely sufficient time remaining for Peterborough to fashion a reply, as soon as Ionians gained possession a relieved Morgan Bunting punted the ball into touch to end a frustrating and disappointing afternoon for both sides.
Peterborough's view of events - www.pitchero.com/clubs/peterboroughlionsrfc/teams/14259/match-centre/1-3596624