GAINSBOROUGH Rugby Club started their season with a workman like 12-0 victory at Barton.
For the first time for a number of years the club has a sponsor, Maltings Bistro and after a good pre-season seems to be heading in the right direction.
Two teams will be turning out on a regular basis, both playing in the Lincolnshire Merit League and hoping to build on last year’s successful season.
Whilst it was not the full first team squad that travelled to Barton, the All Blacks took a mixture of youth and experience for this first Merit Table game.
Barton is always a physical side, Gainsborough knew they would have to match them in the forwards and be on top defensively.
Barton had a good crowd at the game and clearly did not expect anything other than a home victory.
The home supporters were vociferous for the first 20 minutes but the All Blacks did silence them.
For the opening stages the hosts dominated everything, line outs, scrums and open play, but the All Blacks gradually eased their way back into the game.
Shaun Parker kicked four out of a possible five penalties, scoring all 12 points for the All Blacks.
Barton did not have the ammunition to reply, their biggest threat coming from their number 8 who consistently ran at the Gainsborough side but a fine tackle near the end of the game by Man of the Match James Taylor prevented him scoring and ensured that the visitors kept a clean sheet in this match.
Elliot Humphrey marshalled the backs ensuring that all the defensive work required was done by the three quarters.
The half-back combination was interesting in that Parker and Gareth Wood were the All Blacks first choice combination 10 years ago and both put in a sound display.
The side showed real discipline throughout the game and this is the way they must play if they are to continue winning ways throughout the season.
Coach Harry Sampson had special mention for Daniel Chadwick, a young back row forward learning his trade and now coming of age in everyone’s face, first hands on the ball at the breakdown and quick into the tackle and captain Vernon Goude, who played well at tight head and led the team well keeping calm and composure within the players. .
Sampson added: “It was defence that won us the game, a big improvement from the trial game at Retford.”
“The result was just reward for all the defensive work undertaken last Tuesday night at training. It was an excellent team performance.”
Next week both teams are in action, the All Blacks take on Grimsby at home with a 3pm kick-off and the Maori are away to Lincoln IV.
Team selection will be on Tuesday following 6.30 pm training.