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RUGBY UNION: Fantastic display by Bourne in big defeat

Against the odds Bourne put in a performance to be proud of - despite the result on a tough afternoon.

With league survival being the priority, coach Dave Maudsley rested a number of regular 1st XV players - using the opportunity to get game time for some fringe players.

It was clear during the warm-up that Lincoln, who presently sit in the top half of the league above Bourne, were an athletic and well drilled side.

This was a contrast to the home side who had a number of players alongside each other for the first time this season.

While many would have thought the result was a foregone conclusion, Bourne thought otherwise and clearly weren't fazed by the size of the task in front of them.

Dominating the opening exchanges, Bourne forced their way upfield and applied pressure to their guests.

The Bourne pack was well led by stand-in skipper Chris Greenwood and regular first-teamer Sam Harby.

Andrew Brown continued his return from injury with his first start at number eight and proved influential in the loose.

Just minutes into the game, second row Paul Mambey forced a Lincoln error and earned his side a penalty.

Despite being some way out with a difficult wind swirling across the pitch, scrum-half Sam Evison was successful in opening his side's scoring and Bourne led 3-0.

Bourne v Lincoln (7823898)
Bourne v Lincoln (7823898)

And it was Bourne who struck next.

Jack Lagdon, enjoying his first outing at fly-half this season, took control of matters by providing a good link between his forwards and backs.

After some powerful carrying from his pack, Lagdon shifted the ball along the Bourne backline.

Regular centre Adam McHugh fed the ball to Adam Binns, at outside centre for the afternoon, who found full-back Josh Lynch.

He made good ground stepping inside one defender and outside another before offloading a well-timed pass to Binns who had followed in support.

Binns crossed in the corner to take his side to 8-0. Evison was unable to add the extras.

As they entered the second quarter Lincoln finally got their hands on the ball and they quickly tried to assert themselves onto the game.

The guests had several big ball carriers and played an effective high-paced offloading game.

Bourne initially matched the Lincoln attacks with some solid defence in the midfield but the relentless onslaught took its toll on the home side and they conceded in the corner.

Lincoln were buoyed by the first of their tries and in the lead up to half-time scored two more in identical fashion, taking them 15-8 in front.

Bourne coach Dave Maudsley, having watched his side from the bench, was pleased with their efforts in the first half but had a clear message - maintain the defensive effort in the midfield without over-committing and leaving more players to help out wide.

Despite seeing the precautionary removal of Binns and wing Jack Berry, replaced by JD Charlton and Steve George respectively, Bourne appeared to have heeded Maudsley's words as they started the second half.

For the opening 10 minutes the score remained unchanged as both sides matched each other in both attack and defence.

Bourne v Lincoln (7823900)
Bourne v Lincoln (7823900)

Maudsley, keen for his entire squad to have a run-out, made more changes on the 10-minute mark and this seemed to affect Bourne's cohesion.

Although they had made some effort to halt Lincoln's progress out wide, they switched off at the breakdown and twice in quick succession they allowed a lone Lincoln runner to break through untouched.

Maudsley's final substitution was to bring veteran flanker John Hume on to celebrate his testimonial game.

Despite retiring through injury two years ago, Hume has remained a big part of the cub's progress in his role as assistant manager and it was fitting that he featured prominently in the final 15 minutes.

Bourne's man of the match was full-back Lynch, away from his normal position of wing.

Bourne's best attacking option Lynch also appeared to be single-handedly responsible for stopping half-a-dozen Lincoln attacks in the second half that looked to be almost certainly ending in tries.

Although there were other fantastic individual performances, Bourne eventually started to lose some of their collective structure and it wasn't long before Lincoln found gaps in the home defence with relative ease.

In the final 10 minutes Lincoln's prowess finally proved too much and they added a number of tries to end the game some way in front of their hosts.

Maudsley wasn't unduly worried by the final scoreline and paid testament to his side.

He said: "The scoreline got away from us at the end but that doesn't detract from a fantastic performance by the lads.

"Despite Lincoln's better league status, we made a conscious effort to rest some players and get others some game time.

"It was great seeing Jack Lagdon for example having such an influential game at fly-half."

Hume was delighted to have his input recognised by the club and pleased that the game had gone so well for his side.

He added: "It's great to be honoured by the club but I'm a small part of the success here.

"I packed up playing some time ago and although it isn't the same, I've loved watching the club progress in recent years.

"The result didn't go our way today but the bigger picture for us is how many of the fringe players stepped up to the mark."

Although the club already have one final to look forward to, Maudsley's final thoughts were with Bourne's remaining league fixtures

He said: "Staying in Midlands Three has always been the priority this year and that hasn't changed.

"We have four league games left and we won't be thinking about much else until we know we're safe.

"Each game will be tough in its own right and we must build on our achievements this half of the season if we are to get what we deserve."

Bourne's next game may well prove to be the most difficult as they travel to league leaders Northampton Casuals at the weekend.

Bourne v Lincoln (7823907)
Bourne v Lincoln (7823907)

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