Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 20
Matlock 1st XV 44
AFTER the euphoric victory last week Rasen’s standards slipped in a performance punctuated by errors with missed touches, an absent midfield defence, ill directed passing and poor restarts.
These shortcomings were punished by Matlock, primarily through the pace of winger Dan Hooton and a kicking master class from fly half Chris Young.
The game wasn’t a minute old as Rasen number eight Leigh Dearden was pole axed in mid air by flanker Luke Croft who received his first reprimand of the day, but remained on the field despite the severity of his actions.
After this early flash point, Matlock were quicker to settle into their game and showed the value of quick ball from a set scrum as it was fizzed along the back line to unleash the electrifyingly rapid Hooton, who outpaced the home defence to score under the posts.
Young slotted the conversion and three minutes later added a penalty before Croft took a ten minute break for another piece of dangerous play when he received a yellow card for taking out an airborne player at a lineout.
Rasen didn’t take long to take advantage of Matlock’s depleted numbers as they took a visitors scrum against the head and drove them relentlessly back to their own line for Ben Chamberlin to touch down.
Five minutes later Chamberlin was to the fore again as he made a clean break through the Matlock defence.
With the line in sight, the ball inexplicably flew up out of his hands like a bar of soap, but as the flanker recovered control of it the covering defence arrived to pull him down.
Red and green support arrived and recycled the ball for prop Chris Starling to charge over the line to bring the scores level.
Restored to their full compliment Matlock were soon back in front through another Young penalty and then rounded off the half with a further try by creating a simple overlap for centre Ben Neville to score. Young landed the conversion to give his side a 20 – 10 advantage at the break.
Rasen made a great start to the second half as they forced Matlock into conceding an early penalty, which was drilled to touch.
The potent catch and drive was unleashed again as hooker Will Oliver was driven over to reduce the margin, but once again Meehal Grint’s conversion attempt was wide of the mark, just shaving the outside of the post.
The home joy was short lived as the Hooton Young combination added a further seven points through a converted try before they found themselves back down to 14 men again with the temporary dismissal of flanker Jack Wagg.
Despite this setback the Derbyshire side were now brimming with confidence and kept Rasen pinned in their own half allowing Young to add to his tally with a drop goal.
Playing catch up rugby, the error count increased and Matlock pounced on a loose ball to spin it wide where lock Adam Twyford found himself in acres of space to score in the corner.
The wide angle made no difference to Young who maintained his hundred percent success rate to add two more points.
With time running out Rasen kept plugging away and eventually won another penalty. The kick to touch set up another catch and drive, which resulted in Chris Starling being driven over for the important fourth try to secure a valuable bonus point.
However Matlock were not done yet and the wily Young caught Rasen napping at the restart, switching his kick away from the opposing forwards.
With the home defence caught totally off guard, Hooton gathered the ball and sprinted over the whitewash to complete his hat trick, leaving the dependable boot of Young to round off proceedings with another successful kick.
Following on from last week’s masterful display this was a disappointing result borne out of a combination of a lack of precision from Rasen and measured endeavour from Matlock.
With three games remaining Rasen should be masters of their own destiny, but a much improved performance is required at Nuneaton Old Edwardians this week and with the hosts languishing at the foot of the table and fighting for their own survival it won’t be game for faint hearts.
Rasen: Starling C, Oliver, Cole, Mills, Thornes, Chamberlin, Starling D, Dearden L, Starling M, John, Dearden A, Jones, Grint, Harvey, Murphy
Subs: Everton P (Murphy), Inman (Mills), Southwell (Cole)
Matlock: Richardson, Lane, Ball, Twyford, Robinson, Croft, Wagg, Cooper, Morton, Young C, Hooton D, Neville, Hartley, Packard, Powell
Subs: Statham, Young J, Hooton T