Luton Rugby fall just short against Lions

East Midlands Cup Final: Luton 15 Peterborough Lions 30

Luton lost out in the East Midlands Cup Final as Peterborough Lions lifted the trophy for the first time with a 30-15 victory at Goldington Road on Wednesday.

The greater physicality of Peterborough told in the second half as Luton gifted them both territory and possession through some simple errors and penalties.

The game got off to a frantic start as Luton opened up an early lead through a Rik Hobbs penalty after a break down field from centre Steve Ellis earned Luton the penalty in the third minute.

Luton extended their advantage four minutes later when a kick through from Rik Hobbs was spilled by Vernon Horne, which allowed Tom Mahendren to cross in the corner for an unconverted try.

Peterborough had looked to have responded straight away as they re-gathered their own restart before creating the overlap for winger, Rudie Van Der Merwe to touch down in the corner.

A superb cover tackle by his opposite number, Chris Davis forced him into touch though inches before the line.

However it did not take the Lions long to get on the scoreboard as Luton gifted them territory through a penalty and Saad Sait forced his way over from close range.

Duncan Low added the conversion to take the score to 8-7 with 12 minutes gone.

The game continued to be played at a hectic pace as both teams looked to capitalise on each other’s mistakes but unable to add to their score woth Rik Hobbs and Low missing simple penalties.

Peterborough finally took the lead in the 34th minute when Low added a penalty from 40m out.

Paul Allen’s side had the chance to take a lead into the half time break but Rik Hobbs pushed the penalty just wide to keep the score at 10-8.

The second half was a completely different story as Peterborough controlled every aspect of the game, thanks to ill-discipline from Luton.

Lions extended their lead inside two minutes of the half through another Low penalty after Luton were penalised for not releasing in the tackle after a good run from Tom Laws.

Luton put pressure on themselves straight from the restart as the kick off sailed out of play before five consecutive penalties pinned them on their own try-line.

Peterborough had looked to take advantage of the territory through Adam Barnard but the referee pulled them up for a forward pass.

He rewarded them with a penalty though as Luton where caught offside and Adam Harris was sent to the sin-bin for constant infringement.

Peterborough took full advantage of the extra man within the space of two minutes when Laurent Ross burrowed his way over from close range for an unconverted try.

They were in again five minutes later captain Chris Humphrey touched down for a converted try to give his side a comfortable 25-8 lead with 28 minutes still to play.

Peterborough kept paving away at Luton’s line but the hosts defence held firm and clawed themselves back into the game in the 64th minute.

Another superb break from Ellis sent Robbie Smith racing in under the posts for a converted try to close the gap to 10 points with 15 minutes to play. Luton looked to play more expansive rugby as they tried to break the Lions defence, but simple errors gifted Peterborough the ball as Humphrey crossed to complete the scoring.

Luton: Sam Pacey, Ben Murphy (Dwayne Duffy 57), Marc Tindall (Karl Roddell 69), Pat Nelly (Tom Albone 50), Craig South (Matt Yang 67), Michael Weston, Adam Harris (Mobashar Mahmood 70), Jack Elston (John Kerr 72), Robbie Smith, Chris Talanoa, Chris Davis, Steve Ellis, Jake Hobbs (Steffan Cambriani 38), Rik Hobbs (Conor Sibley 67), Tom Mahendren (Doug Fluker 24).