Market Rasen RFC under 16s played with pride and passion to finish as runners-up in the Notts, Lincs and Derbyshire Cup.
After dominating the group stage performances, as well as home and away leg semi-finals, the squad went into the final with a 100 per cent record in the cup to set up a repeat of last year’s final with Notts Corsairs at Lincoln RFC.
Neither team found a rhythm early on with dropped passes and knock-ons, but with the front rows battling to gain the upper hand, the scene was set for a cracking game.
Notts struck first with an opportunistic try when they wrestled the ball from the covering defence to score under the posts. The extras were added for a 7-0 lead.
Rasen’s forwards responded and took the ball on with some excellent phases. Possession was lost within 10 metres of the Notts line, but as it bounced over the Notts try line, Rasen’s open side flanker Kier Horton reacted quickest to touch down for a deserved try.
Notts struck again with a well-worked penalty move as an excellent line from their inside-centre cut through Rasen’s defence to extend the lead to 12-5.
Again Rasen hit back with an excellent try just before half-time. A penalty was kicked into touch, and a well-worked lineout secured the ball and the forwards drove towards the line.
The pack touched down just short, but quick ball out to the backs saw outside-centre Harry Wattam crash over under the posts for a converted try which tied the scores.
The half-time team talk was all about continuing with the same commitment, spirit and belief against a side they had failed to beat in recent seasons.
But Notts came out in the second half with a new vigour and were quick to score.
Cutting through Rasen’s defence with speed and good support, Corsairs ran in several tries, while the Rasen lads struggled to get hold of the ball despite their best efforts in a 41=12 defeat.
To finish as the second best team in three counties while playing by the true values of the game is a fine achievement and Rasen should not be down-hearted.