Lincoln’s 1st XV battled bravely throughout, but ultimately experience told in the end as higher division opponents Scunthorpe came out on top 40-14 in the Lincolnshire Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.
Scunthorpe started brightly with David Garbutt powering over for a try after 12 minutes, which Paul Cook converted.
The visitors added further tries through Nick Dyson and Ollie Cole, both converted by Cook, before Lincoln lost Mitch Ashworth to the sin bin.
The score could have been worse had Mike Keegan not halted two Scunthorpe attacks with superb last-ditch tackles.
Lincoln grew into the game and reduced the deficit shortly before half-time. Jordan Beaumont intercepted a pass from Scunthorpe’s number 10 before Adam Smith produced an expertly-timed offload to release Joe Moore, who sprinted from near halfway for a try, which James Kirk converted.
Lincoln were quick out the blocks in the second half and cut the gap to just seven points when Jack Kinsey set up Lewis Wilson to run in for a try after 49 minutes, which Kirk converted.
Scunthorpe ensured their passage to the final, where they will face Market Rasen, thanks to tries from Dyson, Mick Dunk and Gareth Mist.
Cook added two conversions, while Lincoln lost Leigh Dearden to the sin bin inside the final 20 minutes.
Lincoln refused to give up and Kinsey, who was one of the hosts’ star performers, ran through the defence before eventually being tackled as Scunthorpe clinched the victory.
After the match Lincoln head coach Simon Green said: “In the first half they came at us quickly with early tries. We defended well, but it took us 20 minutes to get to grips with the patterns.
“We then started to get in the tackles and at half-time we were in the game.
“We came out the blocks well in the second half and in the first 10 minutes it was even and we were beginning to edge it.
“In the middle of the second half we went away from the patterns a bit and they took advantage and their experience told.
“I am very happy with the performance, we took the game to them and everyone battled hard.”
Scunthorpe head coach Tim Robinson added: “Lincoln played well at the breakdown, credit to Lincoln for their turnovers and once they got their second score it could’ve gone either way.
“I thought our lads then controlled the game better and retained the ball better. It was a good advert for rugby in Lincolnshire.”