Team spirit once again shone through for the battling Boston Buccaneers as their rugby league season ended with a 60-34 home defeat against a combined Sherwood Wolf Hunt and North East Worcestershire Ravens.
It was a difficult season for Boston who won one of their four games in the Midlands Merit League, but also saw four cancelled by the opposition which made it difficult to build consistency.
Despite this, Boston never let their heads dropped and the lads that played in each game wore the shirt with pride and battled hard for the full 80 minutes.
After several weeks without a game, the Buccaneers were keen to get back on the pitch. At one point the fixture looked in doubt as the Ravens were said to be struggling to field a side, but in the end joint opposition meant the game could go ahead.
With coach Jim Dearing unavailable for the final league game of the season, it was down to club stalwart Mark Bean to steer the ship.
Despite a couple of late pull outs the Buccaneers still had a good squad on paper with a mixture of veterans and players making their debut. Debuts were handed to Lewis Himsworth, Bruno Hall, and Kieran Lynch.
The game started at pace with neither team able to complete their sets due to handling errors. However, it was captain John Stanfield who broke the deadlock after five minutes as he beat three players to score a great individual try, which Tom Balderstone converted.
The next 10 minutes saw both teams trade tries, with Buccaneers’ full-back Matt Cuthbertson outpacing the defence to dab down in the corner. This was shortly followed by captain Stanfield crossing for his second try of the match, this time from close range.
Forwards James Griffin and Kieran Lynch made the hard yards in the middle of the park, as did Lewis Wilson and Sam Jewers.
Despite their battling display, the Buccaneers were unable to stop the younger and quicker visitors who made the best use of the offload to exploit gaps in the home defence.
The half-back pairing of Jimmy Underwood and Ciaran Thompson linked up well, but attacks were swiftly snuffed out.
Boston centre John Hummel came close to scoring late in the first half but was denied by a penalty. The Buccaneers were also down to 12 men after a yellow card was given to Rory O’Sullivan, with the hosts narrowly trailing 22-16 at the break.
The second half saw both sides exchange possession, but unfortunately key injuries to Underwood and Wilson made things challenging for the home side.
Dan Piggins and Will Scupham, together with loose forward Thomas Henry, pressed hard but to no avail.
The game was turned on its head in a frantic two minute spell which saw the visitors run in four tries to kill of any realistic hope of a Boston comeback.
Despite the scoreline the Buccaneers never gave in with George Baldwin and debutant Lewis Himsworth really taking the game to the visitors.
The Buccaneers pressed hard to try and add to their score in the closing stages of the game. Prop James Griffin barged his way over the line for a try to reduce the deficit.
Boston’s man-of-the-match captain Stanfield then ended a jinking run with a try to complete his hat-trick.
The final two tries both came from skilful kicking. Prop Scupham kicked cross field for winger Hummel to gather and score.
Not to be outdone, Boston second row Jewers chipped the winger for Hall to out jump defenders and cross for a debut try before the end of the match.