A strong 2nd XV made the long and arduous trek over to Bourne on Saturday afternoon for a fixture that last year had been marred by fog and some foggier rugby. Despite some last minute changes and forgetting a winger the squad arrived confident and a short focused warm up set them up for an explosive start.
The Hykeham scrum dominated from the start with excellent work from the front row in controlling their opposition and a superb and sustained drive throughout the match from the pack. This gave the backs a superb platform to work from and Josh Barker danced through tackles to make it to the try line only to be pulled up for a knock on.
Moments later from open play sniping scrum half Starkey danced through several tackles to cross the line and score the first try of the game, not converted. Chris Smith at flanker worked tirelessly running great lines and making yards every time he had the ball in hand. The forwards reacted to Bourne unwillingness to take them to ground and stood strong in contact to off load resulting in Tom Kelly and Rick Shaw breaking gaping holes in the home defence.
Barker grabbed a chance to redeem his earlier missed opportunity and went over shortly afterwards to score (unconverted). Hykeham soon began to grow into the dominance and points came thick and fast. Working form the back of the outstanding scrum, Starkey's fast feet danced through tackles to score under the posts. Rick Shaw had missed two kicks but made no mistake with this and put the ball over.
Towards the end of the first half Bourne found some territory after some strong running from their youthful backs and after getting under the ball and preventing a try the Hykeham pack made the most of the five metre scrum, winning the ball and driving their adversaries a full five metres back towards their half. The slight modifications made to the scrum on Tuesday at training were obviously doing the job. Almost the last action of the first half came as youthful 10 Ken Beaumont broke a tackle, found a gap and streaked across the line to score under the posts. Shaw had found his form now and kicked the Conversion.
Bourne found themselves with increased space as the Hykeham team began to tire and their strong running centre broke a tackle and streaked home to score beneath the posts. The home team were well supported and some late replacements made the last quarter more competitive. Angered at having conceded points the Hykeham packed pressurised the Bourne five metre line for sustained periods and the combination of strong running and support play from Blayne Ford and Paul Houlden caused the home side real problems. The break finally came from returning Alex Nicholson powering over for another try (converted by Shaw).
A lapse in concentration saw Bourne break again and despite desperate chasing from Josh Barker they crossed the line for a converted try. Disappointed to have conceded again the 2nds were met by the final whistle and a well deserved win. Final score 32-12.
Credit must go to the hard work and dominance of the pack in the scrum and around the park with workman like displays from Houlden, Darryl Smith and Alex Daniels. In the backs scrum half Starkey controlled the game superbly and Kurtis Tredwell-Jones continues to improve with each game. Rob Sturge ran well and stayed strong in the tackle and centres Shaw and Kelly continually broke the game line.
All in all a strong display that really cements the 2nd XV as a force to be reckoned with in coming games. It is a testament to the development of both clubs that with 1st XVs both engaged in important cup games they can field good, strong and well supported teams. It should be noted that the Bourne side picked 'Young' Ken Beaumont and Starkey as a joint man of the match due to being unable to tell them apart.
Next week the 2nd XV travel to Gainsborough. Confidence will be high. Training Tuesday 7pm sharp.