Market Rasen RFC make it six wins in seven

Try scorer Adam Goodwin goes for a gap EMN-161212-153649002
Try scorer Adam Goodwin goes for a gap EMN-161212-153649002

Rasen made the long trip to Hertfordshire on a murky, wet day, but brightened the afternoon with a workmanlike performance and another character-building win.

The victory left the Red and Greens lying in ninth at the season’s halfway mark, having won one more game than they have lost and trail the three teams above them by only five points.

Will Inman goes to ground as Rasen and Louth patiently build the pressure EMN-161212-153633002

Will Inman goes to ground as Rasen and Louth patiently build the pressure EMN-161212-153633002

The game started terribly when Buzzard’s full-back Geoff Branwhite kicked a penalty to give his side the lead within a minute.

It didn’t take Rasen long to regather their composure and give the hosts a taste of what was to come when they turned over a scrum and gave fly-half Dan Robinson the chance to level the scores.

His penalty attempt was wide of the target, but Rasen continued to exert the pressure and the next penalty wasn’t long in arriving.

Robinson made no mistake the second time to level after only eight minutes.

Dan Robinson kicked seven of Rasen's 22 points at Leighton Buzzard EMN-161212-153702002

Dan Robinson kicked seven of Rasen's 22 points at Leighton Buzzard EMN-161212-153702002

The visitors continued to dominate possession as the Buzzards found it difficult to escape their own half after opting to give Rasen first use of the slope.

Chris Everton, languishing out of position on the wing, ignited proceedings. Coming from the blindside he opened up the defence with a well-timed run before offloading to Adam Goodwin whose quick step inside took him clear and under the posts.

Robinson slotted the conversion and already it was looking ominous for the home side.

Five minutes later Everton continued his role as Buzzard’s tormentor in chief.

With Rasen efficiently recycling the ball against a narrow defence, the Red and Greens played wide where Everton showed a turn of pace, to sprint in over the whitewash for a real winger’s finish which his brother would have been proud of.

With such dominance, there is also the threat of complacency and Rasen were caught napping by a quick tap-penalty.

Branwhite took full advantage of the visitors’ slow reactions to sprint up field and link with winger Ollie Taylor who finished off with a try wide out to reduce the deficit to 15-8 at half-time.

After being under the cosh for much of the first half, the hosts began the second period strongly.

But Rasen had the first scoring chance when winger Tom Stephens was impeded in his attempt to regain possession from a chip over the defence. Awarded a penalty, the visitors opted for a scrum, but the initial pressure came to nought.

And the home side caught Rasen off guard again with another quick tap as the Red and Green defence stood off and failed to close down the space.

With momentum building, the Buzzard forwards rumbled on and hooker Greg Falcon powered over the line. Branwhite added the conversion to level the scores.

As the Buzzards continued to build on their new-found confidence, Rasen suffered another setback with the eventual sin-binning of Dave Starling after some debate with the referee.

Branwhite then punished Rasen with a well-struck kick from the resulting penalty to give the hosts an 18-15 lead which had looked unlikely.

Buzzard’s numerical advantage was short-lived when flanker Chris Rowe’s needlessly late tackle on Everton earned him a ten-minute rest on the sidelines.

This gave Rasen added impetus, but Buzzard were proving a tough nut despite most of the play being based in their own territory.

With nine minutes left a Buzzards’ clearing kick bounced agonisingly close to the touchline, but was gathered by Goodwin with superb fingertip dexterity in the wet conditions.

The full-back calmly flicked the ball inside to Jake Pryer who charged upfield before linking with Josh White whose arcing run took him around the outside of the defence to score in the corner.

Robinson added the coup de grace with a superbly struck touchline conversion to push the margin beyond a penalty.

A bizarre penalty decision allowed the Buzzards a kick to touch, deep in the visitors’ 22. They threw everything at the Red and Greens in a last-ditch attempt to get a winning score, but despite conceding a few more penalties Rasen held out.

Rasen: C. Starling, Haig, Southwell, Mills, Inman, Chamberlin, Pryer, D. Starling, M. Starling (Harvey), Robinson, Stephens (J. Norton), Dearden, White, C. Everton, Goodwin.

* Rasen round off the year with a trip to Wellingborough on Saturday. The hosts find themselves at the wrong end of the table , while the Red and Greens will be looking for their first win at the Cut Throat Lane ground.