LINCOLNSHIRE CUP SEMI-FINAL: Cleethorpes 9 Bourne 9 (after extra time, Bourne win on away team rule)
The eternal promise of youth at Bourne Rugby Club could finally deliver silverware after edging past Cleethorpes to reach the Lincolnshire Cup Final on May 2.
But they had to rely on grit, determination and the cup competition’s away team rule to beat their seaside hosts at Lucarly’s Club.
After being 3-0 down at half-time, two Tom Dixon penalties put Bourne close to victory at 6-3 up before Cleethorpes equalised with a penalty of their own on the brink of full-time.
In the 20 minutes of extra time, the sides exchanged a penalty each but, under Lincs Cup rules, Bourne went through as the away team.
Joint coach John Forbes said: “It was a very close game but the players showed a tremendous amount of resilience against a big side on a narrow pitch.
“Cleethorpes put out their strongest side of the season and used the windy conditions to put us under a lot of pressure.
“But I was very pleased with our defensive performance and they never looked like scoring at all.”
The win did come at a price for Bourne whose full back Ashley Reeves was sent off for tripping a Cleethorpes player, while hooker Iain Taylor and tight-head prop Paul Mabey were both injured.
But Forbes said: “The guys really dug deep and I was very pleased with them, with Sam Thornburn getting the man of the match vote.
We were marginally the better side on the day and, after the game, the Cleethorpes coach (Paul Gardner) said we deserved to go throughBourne RFC joint coach John Forbes
“Our fitness levels began to tell in the second half when we were pushing their scrums back and starting to put a lost of pressure on them.
“Then just before the final whistle, we had a kickable penalty but the referee said ‘put it into touch because you’ve won the game.’
“The defences on both sides were strong and that’s why the game came down to penalty kicks.
“But we were marginally the better side on the day and, after the game, the Cleethorpes coach (Paul Gardner) said we deserved to go through.”
Bourne’s opponents in the Lincs Cup Final will be Stamford College Old Boys, with the match to be played at Kesteven Rugby Club, Grantham, on May Day Bank Holiday Monday (11.30am kick off).
Bourne beat Old Boys 8-3 at Milking Noook Drove two weeks ago, with Dixon scoring all eight points.
However, Forbes warned: “It’s going to be a really tough game because Stamford College will be looking for a little bit of revenge to even up the score after we beat them at our place.
“We’ll not be going into the game cocky at all and we’ll be having little training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday after a game which had quite a few firsts for all of us who had never been in a game that had gone into extra time before.
“This will be our second final in three years and it could have been our second final this season, but for the luck of the bounce when we narrowly lost to (Bedford) Queens (in the Midlands Junior Vase quarter-final in February).
Cruel bounce of the ball denies Bourne RUFC a semi-final place