Amid thrilling late drama, Gainsborough Maoris were beaten by a single point after an exciting rugby union friendly at Sleaford.
With just a few nervy minutes remaining, Maoris led by nine points and looked sure to hold on for victory. But then Sleaford scored a try, which was successfully converted, and followed up with a penalty in the dying seconds to steal a 25-24 success from under the Gainsborough side’s noses.
Earlier, on a soft pitch, Maoris had got off to a flying start when vice-captain Sean Parker, who had a superb kicking game, fed captain Paul Hooton who burst down the left wing to open the scoring after creating an overlap.
Sleaford responded with a try of their own, but the visitors produced some terrific tackling and fine passing, and were on top for most of the rest of the 80 minutes.
Centre Chris Managan introduced himself to the scoreline by going over for Maoris’ second try, which was converted by Tom Parkinson. And as half-time approached, the lead was extended to 19-5 when Parker punted the ball upfield for winger Liam Flower to run in another try, also converted by Parkinson.
Sleaford began the second half with two unconverted tries to narrow the deficit to four points. But back came Gainsborough with their final try of the match, scored by Jack Bradley but not converted.
This Saturday, Maoris travel to Thorne for another friendly.