Skegness was not so bracing for Gainsborough All Blacks, whose trip to the East Coast left them still searching for their first win of the new rugby union season in the Midlands 5 East (North) division.
The All Blacks suffered a narrow 14-10 defeat against a very alert and quick Skegness side, whose well-organised display in both the forwards and the backs suggests they have sorted themselves out well after their relegation last term.
But at least Gainsborough were far from overwhelmed in a tight and competitive match, so they will be confident of breaking their duck in a couple of back-to-back fixtures against Barton and District, starting at home this Saturday. Barton have lost all three of their opening matches so far.
The All Blacks tackled like demons to keep the scoreline close and if they could have won more ball, they might well have emerged as winners. Indeed, after a scoreless first quarter, they did take the lead with a well-struck penalty from fly-half Will Caunte and gave the opposition plenty to think about throughout the game.
Gainsborough continued to enjoy more possession than the home team, who struggled in the scrum, although the sides were evenly matched when it came to any second-phase ball.
But as the clock ticked on, Skegness slowly worked themselves into it, and in the second half, they overpowered All Blacks to score two converted tries and build a lead of 14-3.
Gainsborough did all they could to hit back and narrowed the deficit with some superb work in the backs. The two youngest players, Adam Mathius and Jordan Tuplin, combined to score an excellent try on the right wing, which was converted by Caunte to move them to within three points.
But despite a man-of-the-match performance by veteran club captain Vernon Goude, who worked tirelessly for 80 minutes, driving into the opposition at every opportunity and tackling fiercely, they couldn’t reel Skegness in.