In their first home game of the 2017 season, Boston Buccaneers lost a fearlessly-contested battle against a powerful Sherwood Wolfhunt.
Despite the absence of a few key players, coach Jim Dearing selected a squad that on paper had a good mix of youth and experience.
Although starting brightly, the Buccaneers soon went behind after a run of penalties allowed Sherwood to score from close range.
The Buccaneers’ midfield pairing of Brad Nixon and John Stanfield soon started to distribute the ball well and, with some punishing runs from Paul Lucas and Will Scupham, they were soon deep in Sherwood territory.
Good pressure from the home team seemed to pay dividends when Brad Nixon crossed the try line before it was called back for a penalty.
However, the Buccaneers would not be denied when wing Jaron Cowern received an offload from centre Chris Cook and produced one of his trademark jinking runs to score under the posts.
The conversion was made by young Tom Balderstone, his first of three on the day.
Sherwood’s strong and physical forwards soon started to cause problems for the Buccaneers, who were forced to soaked up lots of pressure.
However, penalties went in the home side’s favour and they soon found themselves marching up the field thanks to Ryan Cuthbertson and new signing Adam Overton.
A neat inside pass from Liam Croker found Brad Nixon, who side stepped defenders to score as the Buccaneers went in at half time leading 12-8.
The second half did not start well with injuries starting to affect the Buccaneers’ shape.
Sherwood began to exploit the gaps that had opened up in defence and punished the Buccaneers for their uncharacteristic lacklustre tackling.
The visitors played with added confidence and took their chances well soon racking up five unanswered tries to lead 36-12 going into the final 10 minutes.
To the Buccaneers’ credit they never gave up and were rewarded for their endeavour when young prop Jack Bell crashed over for the consolation try.
For his great breaks and a superb individual try Jaron Cowern was awarded the man of the match.
Although disappointed by the result, coach Dearing was happy with the way his young, inexperienced players started to gel with the more seasoned Buccaneers.
BUCCS: Underwood, Cowern, Baldwin, Cleaver, Cook, Fox, Scupham, Fowler, Cuthbertson, Piggins, Overton, Lucas, Deane, Balderstone, Bell, Felicio, Stanfield, Nixon, Croker, Gray.
The Buccaneers host Derby City at the Princess Royal Sports Arena on Saturday (KO 2.3pm).