Boston Rugby Club will look back on Saturday’s 29-20 defeat to West Bridgford as a match they should have won.
However, losses of concentration at crucial times and a lack of clinical finishing would prove to be the home side’s downfall in this Midlands 3 East (North).
The margin between winning and losing are often slender, and for lengthy periods Boston’s forwards were impressive and dominant at set pieces and in open play.
Injuries to key players disrupted Boston’s rhythm, but the Blue and Whites started in positive fashion, with debutant prop Lawrence Moore making his mark in the scrum.
Playing against the strong wind, Boston’s forwards quickly made their mark in the loose as winger Mark Hodgeson picked up the ball and - from a surging, jinking run - scored from outside the visitors’ 22 to take Boston into a 5-0 lead.
Boston’s attacking, off-loading and support play earned their reward as they surged up the park.
From a quickly-taken tap penalty, a run by Joe Deamer saw the ball recycled to second row Ben Enderby, who managed to stretch over the line to score and take Boston into 10-0 lead.
After 25 minutes, centre Jake Brooks had to retire due to an ankle injury, forcing a reshuffle in the back line.
Chris Cook came off the bench and Travis Cross moved to centre.
Minutes later an injury to Marc Miles saw Anthony Buckberry off the bench and the front row reshuffled.
In the space of 10 minutes, two quick tries by West Bridgford saw them take a 10-12 lead into half time.
With the advantage of the wind, Boston needed to quickly impose themselves, and within minutes of the restart Deamer obliged, crashing over the whitewash to reduce the arrears to 15-17.
Only minutes later a breakaway try, the first of two conceded, saw West Bridgford extend their lead to 15-22.
Boston were putting in the graft but their usual clinical finishing was letting them down, especially in their line-out play.
With 15 minutes left, hope was rekindled when sustained pressure in the 22 saw hooker Craig Dowse show a remarkable turn of speed to outsprint the defence and score.
With Boston two points behind, coach Willem Jonker’s attempted conversion hit the post.
Yet again, a second breakaway try broke Boston’s hearts, edging the visitors into a 29-20 lead.
On Saturday, Boston host East Retford (KO 2.30pm).
BOSTON: Moore, Dowse, Deamer, Enderby,Eldin, Noble, Cotton-Betteridge, Miles, Hughes, Jonker, Hodgeson, J. Brooks, Smith, Baldwin, Cross; Replacements: Buckberry, Cook, Johnson.