Co-captain Lewis Wilson crossed for a brace of tries as Boston Buccaneers began their league season with a 30-16 victory away against rivals Nottingham Outlaws.
Wilson and his co-captain John Stanfield were said to have marshalled the team superbly in what was a difficult away battle, with coach Jim Dearing and manager Mark Cleaver having just 15 players available to choose from.
Archie Sawyer and Chris Barrett from Deepings RFC, and Lincoln’s Cynyr Jones, were given debuts for Boston in the RFL Midlands Merit League match.
Strong direct running from Lewis Wilson, Grant Laws and Ryan Cuthbertson soon had the home side on the back foot.
The halfback pairing of Harry Marks and Luke Whitby linked up well, with the latter hitting the line at speed and jinking his way over for a try, which Tom Balderstone converted.
The young Outlaws side put pressure on the Buccaneers line as they tried to get back into the game, but the Boston defence led by man-of-the-match Sam Jewers stood firm.
Boston extended their lead when Sawyer handed off several defenders and sprinted 40 metres down the side line for a great try, which Balderstone converted.
The visitors continued to impress and mistakes from the Outlaws also helped to gift them great field position.
Marks whipped the ball out to centre John Hummel who cut inside the cover defence. Hummel then skilfully offloaded the ball to Balderstone, who outpaced the full-back to go over for a try in the corner which he also converted.
Boston full-back Cynyr Jones then created the perfect platform to launch another attack after a superb kick return. John Stanfield set up Wilson who ran a great line to score under the posts and Balderstone added the extras.
The lack of interchanges started to take its toll on the Buccaneers who showed signs of flagging. The home side’s pressure finally wore down the Boston defence and led to an unconverted try in the corner.
A mistake from the kick-off allowed the Outlaws to mount another attack close to the Buccaneers’ line. It wasn’t long before the Outlaws crossed for another unconverted try as Boston took a 24-8 lead in at the break.
Boston started the second half strongly and a good kick chase caught the Outlaws out on their own try line, forcing a kick from beneath the posts.
Quick ball from Stanfield and Whitby found loose forward Wilson on the charge and the defence couldn’t stop the skipper from scoring under the posts. Balderstone successfully slotted over the conversion.
Boston began to show signs of fatigue in the closing stages of the game and the Outlaws were rewarded for a good period of pressure with two quick-fire tries.
The Buccaneers will return to league action with their first home match of the season against Sherwood Wolfhunt, which will take place at Boston Rugby Club on Saturday, May 21 (1.30pm kick-off).
Meanwhile, new team Hykeham Rugby League will be playing their first match away against Sherwood Wolfhunt’s academy on June 11. The fixture will be followed by Sherwood’s first team fixture against Derby Elks.
Hykeham Rugby League hold their training sessions every Tuesday at 8pm at Rustons Sports and Social Club on Newark Road.