Market Rasen 1st XV 12 Kettering 1st XV 38
RASEN suffered a backlash from their visitors’ two consecutive defeats as Kettering were determined to get back to winning ways and proved to be much quicker in thought and deed.
With only two minutes gone, a cleverly delayed pass fooled the Rasen defence and created an overlap for the speedy Kettering backline as centre Joe Newman completed the move with a try in the corner.
Despite this early setback the home forwards worked the red and greens into some good positions and the visiting front row were having a torrid time in the set scrum.
However, on too many occasions the ball was turned over or a pass went astray and the danger was dissipated.
Kettering took a quick lineout midway between halfway and the Rasen twenty two to work number eight Rory Keir into midfield where the burly forward created havoc as he tore through the Rasen defence.
Eventually the advance was halted at the expense of a Kettering penalty, and a quick tap was finished off by scrumhalf Tom Bridgeman crossing the whitewash close to the posts. Fullback Joe Daniel made no mistake with the conversion to push his side further ahead.
Seething at a number of off the ball incidents, Rasen were in no mood to throw in the towel and soon found themselves deep in Kettering territory for a line out.
A catch and drive took play closer to the line before the ball was released to skipper Ollie Cole in stampede mode. Nothing was going to stop the formidable prop as he crashed over the line to wreak revenge as the victim of an earlier clandestine deed. Paul Cook slotted the conversion, but moments later Rasen conceded a further penalty allowing Daniel to bag another three points.
The half ended on 37 minutes with Rasen trailing 15 – 7.
At the interval Rasen appeared to still be in the game, particularly as the forwards had control of the set scrum and were shading the opposition at the breakdown.
However, three penalties in the space of six minutes, one of which saw substitute Dean Hutchinson sin binned, presented the sure footed Daniel with nine further points and left Rasen with a mountain to climb.
The high tempo Kettering game continued to cause Rasen problems as a hurried clearance kick initiated another counter attack from the visitors. Excellent handling finally stretched the red and green defence with hooker Shane Ling appearing on the wing to touch down wide out. Daniel added the conversion, leaving Kettering 23 minutes to conjure up a fourth try for a bonus point.
Rasen were further hampered when hooker Will Oliver received a yellow card, but bizarrely the red and greens had seemed to find a second wind and were now pressing Kettering deep in their own half.
After a frenetic passage of play, an ill chosen comment resulted in a penalty and Kettering cleared their lines. Rasen came back and in the 39th minute Kettering lock Tom Poole received a yellow card.
The red and greens continued to strive for a consolation score and in the 43rd minute, number eight Dave Starling dotted down for a pushover try.
However, there was still time for further play and three minutes later Kettering reached their nirvana as substitute Alex Smit raced over the line to register the try necessary for the bonus point. With the last kick of the match, Daniel slotted the conversion in an elongated game where Rasen had been outplayed by a better team.
Despite this defeat, Rasen remain in seventh place, 30 points behind league leaders Derby and ten points ahead of the third relegation spot currently occupied by Nuneaton Old Edwardians.
There is still plenty to play for in the New Year and after the seasonal break Rasen travel to Spalding on January 7 to resume the league program.
Rasen: Starling C, Oliver, Cole, Mills, Thornes, Dearden L, Chamberlin, Starling D, Neesham A, John, Dearden A, Jones, Cook, Mc Daid, Everton P
Subs: Barker (Neesham A), Hutchinson (Mills), Southwell (Cole)
Kettering: Osborne, Ling, Crooks, Chapman A, Poole, Chapman C, Wilson, Keir, Bridgeman, Byrne, Hackett, Newman, Sumner, Neild, Daniel
Subs: Cox, Scarr, Smit