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Serious Sleaford injury stops match with 10 minutes remaining

Bourne breezed to a 57-0 home success over Sleaford on Saturday despite an early conclusion to their RFU Cup clash.

A serious injury to one of the Sleaford players brought the match to a premature end with just 10 minutes remaining.

With the outcome a foregone conclusion, there was no point in continuing with the priority then to attend to the injured player after a solid Bourne display.

Bourne v Sleaford. Photo: Alan Hancock (5389550)
Bourne v Sleaford. Photo: Alan Hancock (5389550)

Player-coach Dave Maudsley said: “It's not a coincidence that for two games in a row now our forwards have played well and we've won.

“There's always been leaders within the pack but now everybody's contributing which means a better platform for the side to play from.

“We've had a tough start to the season but the last two games have shown we can compete at this level.

“ When we get a full side out, and those guys play to their ability, we're a match for most sides we're up against. We have a long way to go but if we stick at it we'll do ourselves proud."

Having spent most of their early season on the road Bourne were home for the second game with the side slowly returning to full strength as Andrew Brown made his first start at prop, second row Sam Harby began his first game since injury and wing Rob Bentley returned from concussion.

From the start of the game Bourne took the kick-off and set about the match in frantic fashion.

Sleaford's defence was resolute in the opening stages, but Bourne kept possession well and gradually worked their way upfield into the Sleaford half.

After multiple phases Bourne's dominance came to an end when possession was turned over as Sleaford forced the hosts into a handling error.

Bourne v Sleaford. Photo: Alan Hancock (5389593)
Bourne v Sleaford. Photo: Alan Hancock (5389593)

Sleaford's turn with the ball didn't last long however and Bourne were quickly back in charge. The pack, picking up where they'd left off the previous week, were dynamic around the park and kept the ball alive through hard running and quick recycling.

Having dragged the Sleaford defence several phases to the right Harby, at first receiver, spotted space to the left and immediately switched the point of attack.

Committing a number of defenders Harby linked with hooker Harry Thornburn who shot in untroubled from 30 yards out. Scrum-half Sam Evison added the conversion and Bourne were rewarded with a seven point lead.

Play continued in very much the same way for the remainder of the first half and Bourne crossed for a further two tries.

The first came as Thornburn and Harby linked once again, this time with Thornburn acting as a decoy runner.

Fly-half Dave Maudsley ran a dummy-scissors with Thornburn which drew a number of the Sleaford defence and Harby angled himself into the resulting gap before sprinting 20 metres to finish.

Bourne v Sleaford. Photo: Alan Hancock (5389569)
Bourne v Sleaford. Photo: Alan Hancock (5389569)

The second had the makings of try of the season with almost everybody being involved.

Starting deep in their own half Bourne worked their way into the Sleaford territory. At the next breakdown, centre Adam Binns found himself at first receiver and cleverly found a gap between the Sleaford centres.

Although initially running sideways to cut the opposition dog-leg, Binns found Harby outside him - as Harby straightened Binns looped to take the ball again and after drawing the last defender fed his centre partner JD Charlton who darted for the corner from some way out.

With Evison adding one of the conversions and a penalty towards the end of the half, the hosts finished the first period 22-0 ahead.

Conditions throughout the afternoon had become increasingly damp and, despite turning round with the wind behind them, it looked as though Bourne would have to curb their enthusiasm with the ball in hand.

However, it was clear from the restart that, although they were being sensible with their handling, it wasn't to the detriment of their attacking potential.

Just minutes into the half a number of phases led to the Sleaford defence being splintered and Binns was quick to take advantage with a fantastic angle, this time crossing himself.

Throughout the second half Sleaford didn't look set to trouble the scoreboard other than a missed penalty and a failed drop-goal.

Bourne v Sleaford. Photo: Alan Hancock (5389679)
Bourne v Sleaford. Photo: Alan Hancock (5389679)

Although they did get some time with the ball it was quickly shut down by Bourne's defence, proving to be more and more resilient with each game.

It was pressure from the Bourne backline that led to the next try as Sleaford failed to clear their lines with an attempted kick and, with the ball charged down, Charlton was the first to react, scooping it up and beating the cover defence with ease.

The next Bourne try was executed with perfection from a shortened line-out. Skipper Tom Dixon acting as first receiver threw a wide pass to Maudsley who in turn threw a wide pass to Josh Lynch, covering fullback once again and Lynch glided in from just inside the Sleaford half avoiding a number of defenders as he did.

Lynch was pivotal to the next Bourne try, another contender for try of the season.

The Bourne forwards developed a number of phases, often led by replacement prop Paul Mambey who showed some real power in his first outing with the first team this season.

Mambey was supported by Dixon and fellow backrower Dan Smith who continues to impress. After some hard work from the forwards the ball found its way to Lynch who evaded almost the entire Sleaford team as he went almost three quarters of the pitch to cross the try-line.

Selflessly Lynch, despite being over the line, fed replacement winger Chris Warnes to gift him his first try in a Bourne shirt.

Not long later Warnes, having moved to fly-half, showed he didn't need any help as he cut a fantastic line to glide through past his opposite man before touching down himself for just his second try at the club.

With Evison adding all the conversions, Bourne were 57-0 up at this point when the injury brought and early end to the match.

Charlton was named man-of-the-match and was modest about his own performance, paying tribute to the influence of his forwards.

He said: "Scoring tries is relatively easy if your pack can put you in the sort of position ours did. They're getting better and better and that's allowing the side to get better and better."

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