North Hykeham 1st XV 45 Pts vs East Retford 1st XV 30 Pts
Retford opened their account as it were travelling into Lincolnshire to play North Hykeham.
A team that had finished second in the fifth division last season before the amalgamation of the two divisions. Retford were confident in what they wanted to achieve but rather turned up expecting a far easier game.
North Hykeham on the other hand had strengthened their squad over the summer with some RAF players and was more than ready to take on Retford. Retford didn’t get off to the best of starts giving up three penalties in the first five minutes and were rocked onto their heals as the home side took advantage with an early converted try with just eight minutes gone.
Retford did seem to gather their thoughts as they worked their way up the field to be given a kickable penalty of which Dan Preece ably dissected the uprights. North Hykeham bounced back after another ten minutes when their centre spotted a gap and chipped through they gathered the ball and ran in another converted try.
Retford eased the pain with another converted penalty for a high tackle but shortly after Josh Nicklin received a yellow for a no arms tackle and before the interval the home side took full advantage of the extra man scoring a try in the right-hand corner for a nineteen points to six lead at the break.
Retford knew that they had to improve on a very hot day but before Nicklin could get back onto the field of play some excellent footwork by the Hykeham backs saw them sidestep through for two more converted tries. Then Retford came to life taking on the ball in a bump and run scenario started by Ed Driver and taken on further by Mick Sykes and Dave Howard before substitute Luke Hewgill finished the move off with a try in the corner.
Just past half way in the second half and belief was flooding back into the Retford players as they took the ball on once more. Again Driver and Howard were involved but it was finished off this time by hooker Harry salathiel who bounced off his would be tacklers to score. Retford went straight back on the offensive and this time quick thinking by Joe Helliwell with a quick tap penalty saw him crash over in the opposite corner but now there was just ten points in the game thirty-three to twenty-three.
Whilst all looked positive with Retford throwing the ball about the inevitable happened as Hykeham got through after a missed tackle and increased their margin with another converted try. Retford went on the attack again as Preece ran a superb line and looked like he would score before he was brought down with a dangerous tackle and Retford were awarded a penalty try. Having closed to ten points again with four minutes remaining the home side finished the game off overloading one side creating an overlap to finish the game off with another try.
Although Retford were not on form and a bit rusty around the edges there was more positive play in the second half but defence work must be a priority.