Boston Buccaneers pushed Sherwood Wolf Hunt all the way in a narrow 32-30 home defeat in their opening Midlands RFL match.
Boston’s man-of-the-match Scotty Stevenson, Jack Rules, Mike Williams, Saulius Kaleda and Harry Atkinson made their debuts for the Lincolnshire rugby league side.
The host opened the scoring through captain John Stanfield’s penalty kick, but Wolf Hunt hit back to take the lead with an unconverted try.
Boston regained the advantage when loose forward Lewis Wilson finished off a fine backs move to go over for a try in the corner, which Stanfield converted.
Prop Will Scupham span past wanting defenders to go over for a try under the posts, which Stanfield converted.
Wolf Hunt hit back with two tries to level the scores, but it was Boston who took an 18-14 lead in at the break when strong running from Scupham and Paul Lucas set up winger John Hummel for a try.
The visitors snatched the lead with a converted try after 56 minutes, but the scores were level soon after when Stanfield slotted over a penalty.
Wolf Hunt crossed for two converted tries to regain the lead, but Boston refused to give up and very nearly snatched a late draw.
Centre Jordan Cleaver made a 30 metre break before Wilson carved his way through the defence for a try, which Stanfield converted.
In the final minute Stevenson found a gap and weaved his way through the defence for a try in the corner, but Stanfield’s conversion sailed agonisingly wide meaning Boston lost by just two points.
After the match Boston head coach Jim Dearing said: “I was really pleased with the effort from every one of the team. We matched them physically and came up with some really good tries and strong efforts in defence.
“We’ve set the bar high with our first performance and now we’ll work hard to make improvements as the season continues.”
Boston’s next game sees them travel for a match against Derby City at Ilkeston Rugby Club on Saturday.