DUDLEY Kingswinford coach Shaun Perry was full of praise for his young guns as they were edged out at Leicester Lions 29-16 in National Two North.
DK have been forced to rebuild the side during the summer as a result of a number of departures and retirements.
As a result, they fielded a back-line that included three players under 20 making their National League debuts in the shape of full back Ryan Smitherman, centre Harry Bayliss and Duncan Tomkins, who came off the bench to replace Smitherman.
Lions started well and took a 6-0 lead through a couple of penalties from full back Jon Boden.
DK started coming more into the game and cut the deficit through a Gareth Bown penalty before taking the lead when 17 year old Bayliss forced his way over for a try near the posts which Bown improved upon.
Lions hit back with a try of their own through centre Steve Cross which Boden converted before half time to give Lions a slender 13-10 advantage at the break.
DK cause wasn’t helped when they had back row player Sam Pedley yellow carded on the stroke of half time.
Despite being down to 14 players, Bown’s boot brought the scores level with his second penalty only for Boden to kick Lions back in front.
A further Boden penalty put Lions 22-16 in front before late pressure provided them with a second try through outside centre Alfie Malloy which Boden improved upon to complete the scoring.
A pleased Perry said: “I didn’t really know what to expect at first but the boys fought hard.
“All I want is to see the boys going out and continuing to improve.”
DK have a huge game on their hands this Saturday when they host local rivals Stourbridge.