Bourne hold heads high after defeat to Men’s Own

Neil Wood has his eyes on the ball for Bourne against Deepings.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Neil Wood has his eyes on the ball for Bourne against Deepings. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • Home side go down by four tries to one in morale-boosting display ahead of Vase tie

MIDLANDS FOUR EAST (SOUTH): Bourne 10 Northampton Men’s Own 24

Bourne 1st XV skipper Tom Dixon showered his side with praise despite suffering their sixth league loss of the season to leaders Northampton Men’s Own.

The self-styled “finest sports club in Lincolnshire” met the visitors at their most vulnerable after a first league loss of the season at home to Birstall the previous Saturday.

Therefore, hopes were high of an upset at Milking Nook Drove where the match started with an early Bourne onslaught before a couple of mistakes saw Men’s Own start to take control.

Then on four minutes, centre Craig Hudson forced a penalty out of the home side a 15-metre drive from a lineout saw James Barnwell cross the line for an unconverted try (0-5).

Bourne went in front when miscommunication between the Men’s Own half-backs led Adam Baker to give the ball away unexpectedly.

A loss is a loss and we’re disappointed with that but considering how far we’ve come, we think that we can beat anyone

Bourne 1st XV skipper Tom Dixon

A perfect cross-field kick to Harley Giullari saw him feed Ed Hounsell who cleared down field to Tom Westcott, with the Bourne full back getting the luck of the bounce before offloading quickly to Dixon who scored in the corner to make it 10-5 with a Binns’ conversion.

However, the strength of Men’s Own in the scrummage saw them score two tries in quick succession when, firstly on 31 minutes, winger James Tilly dived over with a 30-metre breakaway try after some impressive lead-up play from the back.

Then a minute later, a scrum on the halfway line brought out a sidestep from Adam Baker to create a two-on-one opening which gave Men’s Own centre Craig Hudson a 40-metre sprint under the posts, both tries being converted.

On the stroke of half-time, Adam Binns slotted over a penalty for Bourne to make the interval core 10-19.

In the second half, Bourne set out to keep the number of points conceded down to the bare minimum, while looking for openings of their own to claw back the deficit.

But on 63 minutes, Men’s Own broke the home side’s resistance when an attacking five-metre scrum set up a break by fly half Baker who, held up just short of the try line, managed a clever offload to Richard Leeding which saw him dive over with an unconverted try.

Reflecting on the match, Dixon said: “We did really well and it was just a shame that we couldn’t get a losing bonus point at the end (awarded for a defeat by seven points or less).

“We put a lot of pressure on Men’s Own in the first half and when leading 7-5 in the first half, we were the dominant side.

“But through the second half, they started to dominate the scrums and that’s where they were able to counter-attack and score a fourth try.

“A loss is a loss and we’re disappointed with that because every side comes out to win the game.

“But considering how far we’ve come, we think that we can beat anyone and it’s now just a matter of showing it on the park.”

Bourne now have the chance to gain wins, league points and momentum with four games back-to-back, starting with a Midlands Junior Vase second round tie at home to Midlands Four East (North) outfit Worksop.

“We don’t know a lot about them, but a couple of the coaches have been checking up on Worksop and their findings will be fed back to us in training tonight. “But we’re still getting better ourselves, we don’t concede many points and we’re managing to score tries as well.”