Market Rasen and Louth were punished severely for failing to finish their chances as clinical Peterborough handed the visitors a 39-7 defeat.
The margin between the two sides was not as great as the scoreline suggested and Rasen were more together than they had been in the previous week’s defeat to Paviors.
Defensive positioning and tackling continued to be a weakness, but if Rasen had played the first half in the manner they displayed in the second then the score would have been much closer against a Peterborough side who were clinical in their finishing.
The home side started the stronger, punishing Rasen for an early offside when fly-half Joseph Andresen landed a penalty in the third minute.
This early setback didn’t unsettle Rasen who grew into the game, although Peterborough always looked the more threatening.
A quick tap penalty from scrum-half Borkett put the hosts on the front foot and eventually forced Rasen to concede a five-metre scrum.
Peterborough quickly moved the ball to their backs where Andresen cleverly delayed his pass for centre Michael Bean to slice through Rasen’s defence for the opening try.
Four minutes later the defence was found wanting again when Andresen shot through a large gap to gallop in unopposed to dot down under the posts and leave himself with a simple conversion.
Rasen continued to work hard and put themselves into a promising position, but poor execution brought attacks to a premature end.
Rasen maintained the pressure, but conceded a penalty which was extended by 10 metres as a result of an unsolicited comment.
The home side worked their way towards the Rasen line with some neat interplay before Bean showcased his powerful running again to score out wide, aided by some ineffectual tackling.
Rasen were hoping to hold out and regroup, but on the stroke of half-time Peterborough created an overlap for winger Tshepo Olbile to secure their try bonus point.
Andresen’s conversion took Peterborough up to 27 points at the break with Rasen yet to open their account.
The second half was a different story as Rasen became more confident and the two sides appeared evenly matched.
The third quarter ended in stalemate and Rasen then showed what they were capable of.
An initial surge from prop Chris Starling pushed Rasen into Peterborough’s 22 before fellow front rower, Matt Ashton burst through the home defence to be felled just short of the line.
Quick support retained possession for number eight Jake McKay to crash over the whitewash. Ed Nicholls added the conversion and there was now clearly some belief in the Red and Green camp.
The hosts looked for a quick response and found it through George Offer. The centre’s strong running, coupled with Rasen’s propensity to drop off tackles, gave Offer two-on-one situation, and a simple draw and pass took out the last defender to give Olbile an easy run in.
Rasen continued to try and play constructive rugby, but when Nicholls tried to thread a grubber kick through the oncoming defence on halfway, the ball cannoned back, leaving Rasen flatfooted.
Olbile took full advantage, scooping up the ball to run in unopposed to complete his hat-trick, and Andresen added the conversion.
Rasen battled to the end, but the first half avalanche of points had been too much to overcome.
The Red and Greens seem to be suffering from a lack of confidence probably arising from their fourth straight defeats as well as a lack of familiarity exacerbated by being unable to field a settled side.
The problems are not insurmountable, but do require a commitment from players to attend training in higher numbers with a win likely to do wonders for the team’s wellbeing.
On Saturday, Rasen return to Willingham Road to host fourth-placed Syston for a 3pm kick-off.
Rasen: C. Starling, Ashton, Southwell (Scupham), Mills, Chamberlin, Grant, Pryer, McKay, C. Everton, Nicholls, Cooper (Stephens), Dearden, Lawton, Machon, Pridgeon.
* Rasen and Louth’s second team also suffered a heavy defeat at Peterborough.
A special mention goes to Freddie Norton who swapped the relative comfort of the backs, usually playing centre, to fill in at hooker to sample the dark arts of the front row.