DINO Radice is expecting exciting times ahead after Blackburn kicked off their first ever campaign in the North Premier.

While Burn’s first taste of National League rugby ended in a narrow 24-19 defeat at Lymm, Radice insists this is a level his team deserve to be playing at - and said there is no reason for his players to be overawed.

Blackburn gained promotion to the North Premier via the play-offs last season and had they taken their chances, they could have kicked off with a dream victory.

While Radice accepts there is a tough campaign ahead, it is one he and his coaching staff and players will embrace.

“This is what we worked so hard for last season and I am really looking forward to the season ahead and to see how it all pans out,” said Radice. “This group of players are good enough to play and this level and deserve to play at this level.

“I’ve said before that these players are the best I have worked with at the club and there is no reason at all for them to be overawed.”

He added: “While our initial aim is to stay in the division, it is not just about survival. We want to kick on and see what happens. And whatever happens, I think there will be exciting times ahead.”

Blackburn showed little signs of suffering any sort of inferiority complex as a bright start resulted in the first try of the game.

Following a kick to the corner, Blackburn won the line-out and caught and drove, with Wilf Whittle being in control of the ball as Burn crashed over. Leon Fifield was unable to convert.

However within 10 minutes Lymm were level as they ventured in to the Burn half for the first time and came away with an unconverted try.

From the kick off, Burn were back on the front foot as Scott Richardson regathered the kick with the ball eventually spread wide to Sam Gale who burst through a couple of tackles and stretched over the line to score. Fifield added the conversion.

Burn had chances to extend their lead but chances went begging as several passes just didn’t go to hand.

And despite enjoying more territory the scores were level at half time when a backs move from a scrum saw the home side cross for their second try - the conversion followed to make it 12-12 at the break.

Within two minutes of the restart Lymm were ahead for the first time with a try and conversion.

That lead was extended in the 54th minute when the home side scored a fourth try to lead 24-12.

But Burn were not out of the game and scored a third try in the 70th minute when Frank Scofic managed to hold off a defender and twist and turn to touchdown after good work from Corey Logan and Conner Scrivens. Fifield converted to cut the gap to 24-19 but Lymm held on for the win.

Radice admitted missed chances proved costly but was not too downbeat.

“We left two or three tries out there which is very unlike us but overall it was a good performance,” he said.

Blackburn now have their first home game of the season to look forward to when they host Blaydon at Ramsgreave Drive on Saturday.

“The first home game in the North Premier, this is the one we have been waiting for,” said Radice.

“Blaydon reached the play-offs so we know they are a good side but they would be foolish to travel down here and underestimate us.”