– Thomas Belli contributed to this report.

Lincoln suffered an agonising away defeat at the hands of De Montfort, as they lost 14-13 in an intense battle.

Lincoln’s second away game of the season took them to a De Montfort side in very similar form to themselves. Unfortunately for both teams, it was going to be an encounter heavily dictated by the sodden conditions.

This initially played into the home side’s favour as they capitalised on a series of penalties, allowing them to bundle over for the first try of the game, which was comfortably converted leaving the visitors trailing early on.

The weather was clearly showing its affects, with the early parts of the half being dominated in the middle of the park. Both sides were giving away cheap infringements and there were numerous opportunities to add to the scoreboard.

For both sides, the most impressive inroads were made through the ball carriers, as it was always going to be a forward’s game in these conditions. Good ground was made by Lincoln’s second row, consisting of Joe Cook and Captain Tom Landers, who put their side over the gain line on numerous occasions, forcing De Montfort into a strong tackling display.

Similarly, the Leicestershire outfit were making an impact through their pack, and continued to pile the pressure on the line.

On one occasion, a near certain try was stopped by the determined Jack Noquet, who managed to scurry back just in time.

The fierce defence continued and another opportunity was held up. De Montfort took advantage of the resulting scrum and doubled their lead.

An immediate response from Lincoln’s Sam Strickson in the form of a penalty, reduced the half-time score to 14-3, and left Lincoln optimistic for the second half.

As predicted, Lincoln came out fighting and almost scored from the off. A breakaway move from the backs released Tom McCorkell, who was brought down just metres short of the line.

The promising young fullback managed to touchdown not long after, when a quickly taken penalty fed through the hands, allowing him to slide emphatically over, much to the delight of the watching support.

A pressure kick from the touchline was needed to cut the difference to four and, despite some wayward high-balls in the first half, fly-half Strickson coolly slotted it over the posts, putting victory in his team’s sight.

Eager for the win, Lincoln managed to narrow the deficit even further, with the replacement, Dan Robinson, making the last few minutes a tense affair with just a point in it.

De Montfort needed a score, and came incredibly close but were held up for a second time by a resolute defence. Spurred on by this, Lincoln threw everything into getting up field, a combination of Robinson’s boot and Sam Long’s tenacity eating up the territory.

With their last attempt, Lincoln piled bodies forward and left spectators’ hearts in mouths as Myles Owen pushed his way over the line for what could be the winner; through sheer numbers, it was inconclusive, allowing the referee to blow his whistle on an enthralling encounter.

It may have been an excruciating defeat for Lincoln, but their effort couldn’t be questioned by either the players or support. With performances like Sam Long’s, who rightfully picked up the man of the match award for his tremendous play in the centre, it won’t be long before this side get the victory they so deserve.