Market Rasen and Louth RFC so close to first win

Ben Chamberlain capped a rugged performance with Rasen's second try EMN-171023-101848002
Ben Chamberlain capped a rugged performance with Rasen's second try EMN-171023-101848002

Market Rasen and Louth RFC responded magnificently from their battering at Bedford, but fell to a frustrating narrow home defeat.

The Red and Greens had opportunities in the first half, and for much of the game were the better side against Bugbrooke, but there were far too many turnovers, spilled balls and poorly-executed passes, which proved costly.

Pete Southwell makes the hard yards EMN-171023-101901002

Pete Southwell makes the hard yards EMN-171023-101901002

However, there was plenty to build on or the bottom side, aside from their first point of the season, and was certainly a step in the right direction.

Rasen had first use of the wind at their backs and made a promising start, when they drove Bugbrooke back from an early lineout catch and drive, but after gaining significant yardage, the move broke down and the visitors cleared through a penalty.

This was the story of the game’s early stages as Bugbrooke, facing the wind, had to play their way out of danger with clearance kicking a fruitless option.

Rasen dominated territory, but too frequently lost possession after building pressure.

Chris Starling EMN-171023-101917002

Chris Starling EMN-171023-101917002

Another Rasen turnover allowed Bugbrooke to break out and reach the home 22 before scramble defence wrenched the ball loose.

Will Pridgeon gathered the ball and hoofed it upfield and set off in pursuit, catching Bugbrooke flat-footed. A lone defender reached the ball first, but couldn’t control it under pressure from the Rasen chasers.

Pridgeon put his foot through the ball again and won a straight foot race to the line to open the scoring.

This sparked real life into the Red and Greens as Jake Pryer gathered the restart, with Ben Chamberlin In close support, rolling back the years as he took the ball deeper into Bugbrooke territory.

But again the move petered out as Rasen lost control.

The hosts survived a spell of pressure and were awarded a 22 drop-out, but Spencer Holvey misjudged the strength of the wind and his long kick went dead to bring the Badgers back to Rasen’s 22.

Rasen weathered the mini onslaught and were soon back on the offensive deep in Bugbrooke’s half where their unwanted habit of losing possession reared its ugly head again.

Bugbrooke claimed the ball and spread play wide to the dangerous Adam Pepper just outside their own 22. The winger had little space to manoeuvre close to the touchline, but used his pace and strength to outwit the home defence and sprint over the whitewash.

The two sides remained locked at 5-5 at half-time.

The wind if anything gained in strength, but Rasen started the second half well, playing into the gales as fly-half Ed Nicholls slotted a penalty to restore the lead after only two minutes.

A needless penalty for crossing five minutes later allowed Jonathan Palmer to level again with a well-struck kick.

The game settled down into a cat-and-mouse affair, but territorially Rasen were making a better fist of playing into the wind than Bugbrooke had done.

The home side had the upper hand in the set scrum throughout and this became translated into the loose where the Rasen forwards relentlessly drove Bugbrooke back towards their own line.

Chamberlin emerged from the pile of bodies as the try scorer after Rasen drove over the whitewash.

This left Rasen with 16 tricky minutes to hold out for victory, but in the 31st minute from a seemingly innocuous position just inside the Rasen half, Bugbrooke won quick scrum ball to release their backs.

The home defence had been relatively sound for much of the game, but the midfield was cruelly exposed again as centre Laurence Baxendale broke through with ease to sprint in under the posts from distance.

Palmer’s simple conversion put the Badgers ahead for the first time.

Rasen battled hard and were on the attack much of the remaining time, and with the final play, the home forwards took the ball on from a tap penalty, but Bugbrooke held them up over the line as the referee blew for full-time.

Rasen: C. Starling, Alldridge, Southwell (Ashton), Mills, Chamberlin, Grant (Crowe), Pryer, McKay, Holvey (C. Everton), Nicholls, Stephens, Lawton,

P. Everton, Machon, Pridgeon.

* On Saturday, Rasen travel to fellow strugglers Huntingdon for the last 3pm kick-off before the clocks go back.