Boston Rugby Club put in a spirited performance on Saturday, only to be downed 27-8 at Midlands 4 highfliers East Retford.
It was the Blue and Whites’ composure and off-loading in loose play which crucially let them down in a tough bruising encounter, writes John Fletcher.
Coach Grev Bray and captain Alex Hough were forced to make a number of positional changes, which saw Dave Cotton-Betteridge move to scrum half and Jarron Cowern installed at full back.
The squad welcomed back number eight Sean Hughes for his first game of the season.
The home side made the perfect start scoring their first try within two minutes to move 7-0 ahead, with the Retford backs looking to move the ball wide at every opportunity.
It took time for Boston to get into the match and a penalty attempt by fly half Bray after 12 minutes narrowly missed the target.
On 22 minutes Toby Scott was brought off the bench to earn his first-team debut and, as the half proceeded, scrum half Cotton-Betteridge was forced to come off due to a hand injury, being replaced by Harry Woods.
Boston would concede a further penalty and try to enter half time 15-0 down.
In the second half Boston battled bravely, with coach Bray forced to reshuffle the team due to injuries, utilising all replacements on a rolling basis.
A penalty by Matt Bray on 47 minutes and a try by Robbie Jones on the wing from just outside the Retford 22 midway through the half saw Boston pick up their points.
But as the final whistle blew, Retford had scored 12 more points to claim victory.
BOSTON: Hough, Phoenix, Dowse, Eldin, Coley, Cuthbertson, Noble, Hughes, Cotton Betteridge, Bray, Kippax, Woods, Turley, Moody, Cowern; replacements: Starkey, Cock, Scott, Jones.
On Saturday Boston travel to play North Hykeham in the second round of the Nottingham, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire Cup competition.
The week after they return to league action playing Long Eaton at home.
Boston’s Development Team lost 27-14 against Market Rasen Thirds in their contest on Saturday.