Coalville 1st XV 8 Market Rasen 1st XV 22
The temperature may have been cool, but on the pitch there were a number of heated exchanges in a tempestuous match.
Rasen got off to a flying start at the first scrum as number eight Dave Starling picked up and took the ball up the blindside before linking with flying winger Peter Everton, who easily outpaced his opposite number to score under the posts and emulate last week’s feat of scoring with his first touch of the ball. Fullback Meehal Grint added the extras with only two minutes elapsed.
Everton was in action again moments later when he made a long jinking run before Coalville launched their first meaningful attack.
Flanker Adam White broke through the heart of the Rasen defence with an incisive run before swift transference of the ball put scrumhalf Matt Twigg into space to touchdown close to the corner.
Rasen stormed back from the kick off with prop Ollie Cole gathering a loose ball and setting off on one of his trademark rhino charges to instigate a series of drives from the forwards.
Inevitably Coalville capitulated and conceded a penalty that was drilled into touch close to the host’s try line.
The well rehearsed catch and drive routine was set in motion and like many sides this season, Coalville couldn’t resist it as flanker Leigh Dearden was driven over the line.
Rasen’s hearts were in their mouths as winger Russ James appeared to have made a clean break with no one between him and the red and green’s line, but the referee had spotted a forward pass and called him back.
A disgruntled comment from a home player turned the scrum into a penalty and Rasen were back on the offensive.
The red and greens were monopolising possession as the forwards went through countless phases, progressing up field like a conquering army, but with the line in sight Coalville managed to gain a turnover and clear the danger.
A quick tap penalty from Twigg set Coalville in motion again before speedy winger James chipped ahead and was just beaten to the ball by Grint, who slid into the safety of touch.
Coalville maintained their momentum and caught Rasen offside centre field bang in front of the posts just outside the twenty two. Fly half Billy Measures slotted the penalty to reduce the deficit to 12 – 8 at the interval.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first as Rasen spent long periods deep in Coalville territory, but it wasn’t until the 14th minute when Grint punished the home side’s offside with a successful penalty kick.
The turning point of the game came two minutes later when Coalville fullback Michael Richmond was sent off after the referee had seen him punching.
Thereafter the game descended into a niggly affair with the referee issuing further warnings, but not reaching into his pocket again, much to the annoyance of the home support.
As is often the case, Coalville upped their game in the absence of their departed felon and Rasen, although comfortably encamped in Coalville’s half, struggled to break through their determined hosts, who gamely tried to run the ball out of defence.
A determined lengthy run from lock Chris Mills was all Rasen had to show for their efforts until the 29th minute.
Having driven Coalville back to their line, Rasen were awarded a scrum and number eight Dave Starling picked up from the base to force his way over for a decisive score that took Coalville out of losing bonus point territory.
Grint extended the lead with the conversion, but Rasen were then unable to grab a fourth try and despite ending the game in Rasen’s twenty two, Coalville also failed to secure an elusive bonus point.
There was still one final act of petulance as Coalville’s Twigg departed the field immediately after the final whistle choosing to ignore the time honoured etiquette of tunnel and cheers.
This win lifts Rasen to seventh in the league table at the halfway point with a record of won seven and lost six.
The forwards are growing in stature with every game, but there must be a slight concern over the side’s apparent inability to turn pressure into points, which would undoubtedly lead to more bonus points as Rasen currently have the second lowest number of bonus points in the league.
However, the side is developing the winning habit and next week face a real test of their progress at Willingham Road against second placed Kettering, who will be looking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats.
Rasen: Starling C, Oliver, Cole, Inman, Mills, Dearden L, Chamberlin, Starling D, Neesham A, John, Dearden A, Jones, Cook, Everton P, Grint
Subs: Harvey (not used), Mawer (not used), Southwell (Cole)
Coalville: Moretta, Lynds, Flanaghan, Taddy, Chamberlain, Jarram, White, Wallace, Twigg, Measures, Jardine, Neville, Argyle, James, Richmond
Subs: Grant, Hickin, Quail