Matt Bray bursts through. Photo: David Dales.
Skegness RFC 8
Boston RFC 30
Three-try Boston kicked off this year’s league campaign with victory at rivals Skegness on Saturday.
After a scrappy start to the game, the home side took the lead inside five minutes. Second-row Henry Betts penalised in the Boston 22 and the successful penalty attempt made it 3-0.
Boston hit back immediately, an infringement at a ruck giving vice-captain Matt Bray the chance to level from close in, and a further penalty offence shortly after saw him slot a long-range effort away.
Skegness missed a chance to level when Boston were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck, and Bray struck again on 25 minutes after the home side went to ground at the breakdown.
Boston were slowly going through the gears, playing good rugby in short phases, and they pulled further ahead before the half-hour.
A typical break from powerful wing Jaz Cowern saw the ball fed by Betts to the supporting Bray, who found centre Michael Baldwin joining the line at speed to cut through the defence and touch down near the posts.
Bray’s conversion extended the lead to 3-16.
Winger John Hummel, a summer signing from Skegness, saw yellow as the home side hit back, and Boston had an escape shortly after when Skegness went over in the corner - only to lose the ball in contact.
The reprieve was to be short-lived. Boston lost the resulting scrum, and after a couple more phases a quick tap unlocked the determined away defence for the home side to cross near the posts. The missed conversion left the score 8-16 at half time.
Skegness had the wind at their backs in the second half and began well but could not pierce the dogged Boston defence, and it was the visitors who extended their lead after 52 minutes; their back line got hands on the ball and after full back Kyle Turley’s searing run, winger Cowern was on hand to receive the off-load and race over. Bray’s conversion made it 8-23.
Baldwin was shown the yellow card shortly after, his offence finally pushing the patience of referee Martyn Keightley too far, but still Boston held firm.
Captain Lewis Eldin went on a charge which almost set up Turley for an easy run-in, but a third try finally came when Dave Cotton-Betteridge fly-hacked the ball upfield and Bray won the foot race to kick on again and touch down.
The successful conversion of his own try rounded off the scoring at 8-30.
The four-try bonus point may have gone begging, but this was a promising start for Boston against derby opponents who always present a rugged challenge.
The victory sets up Boston well for this week’s trip to Amber Valley (Saturday, KO 3pm).
BOSTON: Hough, Sharp, de la Fontaine, Eldin, Betts, Cotton-Betteridge, Scuffham, Hughes, Gray, Bray, Hummel, Miles, Baldwin, Cowern, Turley; replacements: Cock, Hardstaff, Coley, Cook, Stockunas.
Boston’s Development XV secured a 36-27 win at home to Skegness Development.
In the first half, the visitors dominated territory and possession and deservedly entered half time leading 22-7, Boston’s only points a try scored by winger Dan Piggo and converted by fly half Tom Balderstone.
Manager Nick Hall made a number of substitutions and positional changes which kickstarted the revival as they scored five tries through Jack Bell, Wayne Sutcliffe, Bruno Hall, Emanuel Pinheiro and Balderstone, who sealed a dramatic late victory.
BOSTON: Harmston, Wood, Samson, Lloyd, Woods, Paul, Jones, Williams, Hall, Balderstone, Piggo, Smith, Jackson, Cook, Borley; Replacements: Pickett, Ward, Carr, Sutcliffe, Overton, Stevens, Bell, Pinheiro, Cleaver, Loveley.