Lincoln’s 1st XV put in a determined performance, but two tries in the final half hour saw them on the wrong end of a 34-17 derby defeat at rivals Market Rasen.
Rasen scrum-half Ed Nicholls darted through a gap to put Adam Goodwin over for the first try of the match, which Tom Alldridge converted after 10 minutes.
The hosts extended their lead when Nicholls set up Chris Everton to run in for a try, which Alldridge converted.
Lincoln refused to give up and reduced the deficit when Mitch Ashworth took advantage of a penalty to snipe over for a try from close range.
Richie Dixon successfully slotted over the conversion before Rasen’s Pete Southwell was sent to the sin bin late in the first half.
Lincoln thought they were back in the game when forward Grant Cowe crossed for a try early in the second half, but the referee disallowed it for an alleged knock-on.
Rasen captain Ben Chamberlin powered over for a try, which Alldridge converted, to increase the host’s lead.
Lincoln once again narrowed the gap in the score when an excellent move through the hands set up Matt Walker, who handed off the winger and stepped the full-back for a try in the corner.
Rasen put the result beyond doubt when winger Ben Young powered over for a try, before Alldridge added a penalty sooner after.
Lincoln hit back as youngster Owen Mitchinson ran onto an offload from Louie Cooke to go over for a try.
The visitors lost Cowe to the sin bin before Rasen clinched a bonus point win. Number Eight Jake McKay ran in for a unconverted try with the last play of the game.
Lincoln face a crucial home match against bottom club Ashfield on Saturday.
Jake Williams marked his rugby return with a try as Lincoln Imps XV stretched their unbeaten run to six games with a 31-17 home win against Bingham.
Joe Christopher, Grant Laws, Zeph Chapman and Connah Suttle-Jones each scored one try to keep Lincoln top of the Security Plus Pennant Group 2S table.
Alex Brodrick successfully kicked three conversions for the in-form Imps, who are in cup action with a semi-final clash at home against Southwell on Saturday.
Lincoln Ladies’ home match against Kesteven was postponed.
In National League Two (North), Scunthorpe suffered a 49-12 defeat at Wharfedale. Kane Linklater and Will Scammell scored Scunthorpe’s tries, with Paul Cook adding one conversion.
Stamford remain top of Midlands Three East (South) after a 19-10 home victory over Huntington & District, which also saw them retain the Max Hunter Shield in memory of their former player.
Captain Robbie Smith and Rees Burns scored the tries for Stamford, who were also awarded a penalty try. Ollie Johnson added one conversion.
Third-placed Bourne are only five points behind Stamford after a 32-27 home win against Dunstablians.
Sam Thornburn and Adam Castle grabbed two tries apiece for Bourne and Tom Dixon scored one. Sam Evison kicked two conversions and a penalty.
Conall Mason, Willis Ingleby, Ash Ankar and Matthew Holmes grabbed two tries apiece as Spalding bounced back to winning ways in style with a 44-7 home victory against Northampton BBOB. Mason also kicked two conversions.
In Midlands Three East (North), Dan Turner crossed for a hat-trick as Kesteven beat Nottingham Moderns 48-0.
Tom Wood and Aaron Whittaker each grabbed two tries, with Harry Clough also scoring one on his first team debut. Whittaker successfully kicked four conversions.
John Mansfield scored the only try as Grimsby won a low-scoring match 5-0 against Rolls Royce.
Grimsby’s 2nd XV also battled well in their Yorkshire Merit League game against Withernsea, which ended in a narrow 24-17 defeat. Grimsby’s tries were scored by Matt Stringer, Lee Burke and Morgan Gant, with Kaelin Allen adding a conversion.
In Midlands Four East (North), Cleethorpes stretched their unbeaten league run to 10 matches with a 77-0 home win against Amber Valley.
Dan McDaid crossed for a hat-trick and Mike Burton and Harry Lightfoot each scored two.
Andy Carruthers, Andy Shaw, Harrison Barrell, Pat Hughes, Nathan Phillips and Alex Nabais also scored tries. Lightfoot and Hughes each kicked three conversions.
League leaders Boston suffered a shock 25-7 defeat at Chesterfield Panthers, with their only points coming from Matthew Deane’s try and a Will Scupham conversion.
Robbie Goodyear kicked five penalties and Cameron O’Brien was named as their man-of-the-match as Gainsborough beat Sleaford 15-10.
Cameron Catelugh scored a try and a conversion for Sleaford, with Wayne Harley adding a penalty.
Gainsborough and Sleaford’s second teams also enjoyed a good battle, with the latter winning 40-14. Alexander Smith and Liam MW scored Gainsborough’s tries, which were both converted by Danny Thompson.
Ryan Carr crossed for two tries as North Hykeham pushed Ollerton all the way in a 22-15 home defeat.
The host’s other try was scored by Jack Thomas.
Skegness lost two players to injury during their 54-3 defeat at Meden Vale, in a game where they believe the score doesn’t reflect their efforts.
Liam Barnard kicked a penalty as Skegness only trailed 12-3 at half-time, but injuries took their toll in the second half.
In Midlands Four East (South), captain Haydn Johns and Callum Fraser crossed for two tries apiece as Stamford College Old Boys won 31-5 against Deepings.
Dan Smith also grabbed a try and Johns kicked three conversions.
In the Women’s NC2 North (East), a spirited Boston Ladies side lost 64-0 at league leaders Driffield despite a more dominant performance in the second half.
Sleaford Ladies were able to field a full team for the first time since November and battled hard in a 29-0 home defeat against Doncaster.
Scunthorpe Ladies had players missing and others out of position in a 31-0 home defeat against York RI, but their players worked hard throughout the match and challenged at the break down.