Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 26 Kettering 1st XV 14
ON a gloriously sunny afternoon Rasen registered their first win of the season.
The forwards moved up a gear from the previous week and the dangerous Kettering backline, who had run amok on their last visit, were kept in check.
It was Kettering who displayed their attacking intent first, crossing the Rasen line after only two minutes, but an earlier infringement allowed the home side to breathe a sigh of relief as the score was ruled out.
The red and greens made their way upfield, and from a scrum on the edge of the Kettering twenty two the ball was taken blind. Fly half Meehal Grint put winger Peter Everton away with one defender to beat, which he did with consummate ease as his immaculate side step left the defender rooted to the spot. Grint nailed the conversion from wide out to compound the lead.
Three minutes later the visitors suffered another setback with centre Joe Newman yellow carded and banished to the touchline for ten minutes.
Rasen took full advantage with a further penalty pushing them within striking distance of the Kettering line. Cue the catch and drive, once again executed to perfection as prop Chris Starling touched down and emerged beaming, much to the joy of his admiring family.
Grint added the conversion, but then later turned from hero to villain with a telegraphed pass that Stevie Wonder would have been hard pressed to miss, which was intercepted by Kettering’s flying substitute Louis Hackett for a free run to the line under the posts. Scrumhalf Joe Daniel slotted the conversion to bring his side back into the game.
This score lifted the visitors spirits and they kept Rasen pinned in their own half, but let themselves down with a lack of precision at key moments.
Such was the danger of the Kettering backs that number eight Leigh Dearden sacrificed himself earning a yellow card for impeding a supporting player when a try looked inevitable.
The visitors clearly finished the half stronger as Rasen were guilty of kicking away possession in the latter stages.
Kettering’s resurgence continued at the beginning of the second period as they earned an early penalty, but Daniels kick fell short and wide of the mark.
Just as in the first half, this early scare prompted Rasen into attack and they were soon deep in Kettering territory.
A trademark charging run from prop Ollie Cole was followed by a deft pass to supporting skipper Dave Starling, who dived over the line to bring more glee to his proud touchline family entourage. Grint slotted the simple conversion to give Rasen a two score cushion, but with 34 minutes left, the game was far from over.
However Rasen were now establishing a degree of control and it was the red and greens who were next to score.
Nick Harvey, making his first appearance of the season as a substitute, cut a clever line and powered his way forward to set up a maul before the ball was slipped down the blind side and quick hands created an overlap for Cole, lurking out on the wing to cross the whitewash and secure a bonus point.
Kettering were down, but they weren’t out and they kept battling for a score of their own. Rasen conceded a penalty in their own twenty two, which Kettering opted to run, but Dave Starling then received a yellow card as he was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball on as he rushed out to stifle the visitors attack.
Kettering tapped again and their forwards rumbled over for a try as due reward for their endeavour. Daniels added the conversion, but Kettering couldn’t close the deficit any further and with their skipper back on the field Rasen saw out the game as the forwards retained possession to count down the clock.
Rasen deserved their victory on the basis of the forward supremacy, but will acknowledge that there is still plenty to work on.
Improvements were made from the previous outing and with several players yet to make an appearance, the side should hopefully continue to improve week by week.
Next week Rasen travel to Lincolnshire rivals Spalding, who will be looking for their first victory of the season after suffering two heavy defeats.
Rasen: Starling C, Ashton, Cole, Crowe, Mills, Routledge, Starling D, Dearden L, Starling M, Grint, Everton P, Dearden A, Edell, Green, Ward
Subs: Bullivant, Harvey, Pytlik (all used)
Kettering: Ling, Frehyer, Cox, Noble, West, Bartley, Scarr, Chapman, Daniel, Dawson, Taylor, Byrne, Newman, Neild, Green
Subs: Hackett, Lyness, Santos (all used)