Lincoln men’s first team pushed league leaders Melbourne all the way before losing at home for the first time this season in a 28-19 defeat.
Lincoln’s scrummaging was strong on the day, but some split-second poor decision making ultimately proved costly.
Some good forward drives saw Oliver Page pile over for a try, which Euan Holden converted as Melbourne took an early lead.
Lincoln quickly responded as Richie Dixon offloaded to man-of-the-match Lewis Wilson, whose pass set up a try for Josh Pratt. Dixon added the extras.
The hosts took the lead after 27 minutes when another excellent scrum set up Grant Cowe, who powered through two defenders for a try.
Holden slotted over a penalty for Melbourne before some poor mistakes saw Lincoln concede two soft tries, which were scored by Jack Pearce and James Benstead. Holden added one conversion to give Melbourne a 22-12 half-time lead.
Lincoln reduced the deficit to just three points when Will Scammell made a great run through the Melbourne defence, beating several players on his way to scoring a try which Dixon converted.
Any hopes of a Lincoln comeback were ended when Holden slotted over two penalties for Melbourne, who saw Jack Percival sent to the sin bin late on.
After the match Lincoln’s 1st XV captain Leigh Dearden said: “It was a great game, tough but good. At times Lincoln played evidently and obviously a far higher brand of rugby, but sadly some split-second poor decisions cost us dearly.”
Sam Moate crossed for two tries as Lincoln Imps XV continued their strong start to 2019 with a 19-19 draw against unbeaten Melbourne.
Captain James Johnson also got his name on the scoresheet, with Zeph Chapman adding two conversions.
After the match captain Johnson said: “Overall I feel the draw was about right. We were the better team in the first and last 20 minutes, with Melbourne being the better team in the middle section.”
Clare Brown and Bob Chapman crossed for two tries apiece as Lincoln Ladies made it back-to-back victories with a 27-5 home victory over Sleaford.
Kellie Pyart grabbed Lincoln’s other try, with Sleaford’s score coming from Sam Olliver.
After the match Lincoln Ladies head coach Brian Kelly said: “The effort from the girls was amazing in terrible playing conditions. They knew they had a point to prove after the cup defeat to Sleaford and they did just that.”
Lincoln’s 1st XV travel to Stamford in the NLD Shield on Saturday, while the Imps XV host Market Rasen & Louth. The 3rd XV travel to West Bridgford.
Elsewhere in the county, leaders Scunthorpe beat Doncaster Phoenix 34-27 in the Midlands Premier thanks to tries from Grant Elliott, Ben Hyde, Jacob Hardy, Tom Foster and Will Robinson. Paul Cook kicked three conversions and one penalty.
In Midlands Two East (North) Market Rasen & Louth lost 41-7 at Loughborough, with their points coming from a Jake McLoughlin try, which was converted by Tom Alldridge.
In Midlands Three East (South) both Lincolnshire sides secured victories with Bourne beating Biggleswade 25-18. Sion Williams, Adam Binns and Jack Berry grabbed the tries, with Sam Evison kicking the remaining points. Stamford won 33-21 at Daventry.
Sleaford claimed a 20-12 away win at Kesteven in Midlands Three East (North). John Spencer, Rob Titmus and Cameron Catelugh crossed for Sleaford’s tries, with Wayne Harley adding a conversion and a penalty. Dan Turner and Will Cann scored the hosts’ tries, with Ben Whinney adding a conversion. Spalding lost 31-12 at Buxton.
Lawrence Gillen crossed for four tries as second-placed Cleethorpes thrashed Amber Valley 62-0 in Midlands Four East (North). Matthew Searle grabbed two tries, with captain Dan McDaid, Isaac Machon, Phill Stark and Joe Barker each crossing for one. Harry Lightfoot kicked five conversions, with Barker adding one.
North Hykeham were awarded a home walkover against Meden Vale. The club’s second team beat Kesteven 27-17 after two tries from Richard Bevan. Ryan Carr, Mark Bunton and Rob Booth also scored tries, with Maxwell Harry converting one. Chris Warden, Mark Dent and Michael Coghill scored Kesteven’s tries, with Marty Parker adding a conversion.
Jaron Cowern crossed for a hat-trick as Boston thrashed Chesterfield Panthers 45-0. Luke Fowler, Rob Borley, Tom Hobbs and Alex Hough each grabbed one try, with Matt Bray converting five.
Lewis Newsum grabbed a hat-trick as Grimsby won 47-18 at Nottinghamians. Lewis Cartwright, Kieron Moore, Tom Bright and Brad Treacher also scored tries, with the latter adding six conversions.
Sam Lempard, Robin Lancaster, Colin Haigh and Jamie Cameron crossed for tries as Skegness lost 55-26 against leaders East Retford. Rikki Bovey added three conversions.
Gainsborough lost 43-27 at Ollerton with Brad Beresford crossing for two tries. Jamie Egan and Damien Hart grabbed a try apiece, with Robbie Goodyear kicking two conversions and a penalty.