The abundant pride and passion shown last week was sadly lacking as Rasen slumped to defeat against a lively Paviors side.
The early stages were a cat and mouse affair as the two sides vied with each other for an early opening, but the dangerous counter attacking ability of Paviors was soon in evidence as home fullback Jonty Green collected a loose kick to slice through the Rasen defence.
However the initial injection of pace was wasted as Green’s delayed pass to Bobby Ratcliffe gave Rasen’s defence the chance to regroup and the winger’s path was blocked, whereas an earlier pass would have created precious space to be capitalised on.
Green fielded another kick, but this time closer attention from the visitors forced him into a hurried clearance that was charged down. As the ball broke loose, centre Dan Robinson was on hand to scoop it up for a straight sprint for the line where his pace was too much for the turning defence as he galloped in under the posts. Robinson slotted the conversion as Rasen took a fortuitous lead in the 11th minute.
A needless penalty for backchat gave Paviors the opportunity to open their account, which flyhalf Chris Oswin took with ease. The ebb and flow continued as Rasen went back on the attack, but like Green earlier, winger Will Pridgeon’s execution of a telling pass to teammate Tom Alldridge in the clear left a lot to be desired and Paviors won the ensuing scrummage to clear the danger.
Further verbal indiscipline earned Chris Starling 10 minutes in the sin bin and Oswin punished the misdemeanour with another well struck penalty.
This was the spur that Paviors needed as they looked to turn the screw with a man advantage. Strong running from centre Ed Collishaw made inroads deep into Rasen territory, but the red and green defence managed to hold firm. With the last play of the half following countless phases a Paviors score looked inevitable, but lack of precision with the final pass allowed Nick Harvey to get a hand in.
Rasen ended the half perilously clinging to a slender 7–6 lead.
Rasen began the second period brightly launching an attack from deep where Harvey’s incursion into the line created an opening for fellow winger Pridgeon to sprint up field taking Rasen deep into Paviors territory. The forwards then took over to edge play closer to the line before Paviors halted the proceedings illegally and Robinson punished them with a well struck penalty.
Within minutes Oswin was lining up another kick after a scrum penalty with his metronomic boot making no mistake to bring Paviors within one point of the visitors.
At this stage the game was very even and the eventual winner was still in doubt, but that was soon to change. Rasen looked in full control as the forwards continued to recycle the ball and make headway, creating a sound attacking platform for the backs, but a pass on the edge of Paviors twenty two was expertly read by Green. The fullback darted in to make the interception and then sprinted the seventy metres or so to break Rasen hearts with a touchdown under the posts. The reliable Oswin converted and Paviors never looked back as this crucial score knocked the stuffing out of the men in red and green.
The rest of the half belonged to Paviors who added another try when the unsubtle aggressive running of Collishaw breached the first line of defence before a delicate offload to Tom Winning put his fellow centre in for the score. It may have been from a wider angle, but Oswin’s rich vein of form continued as the ball flew between the uprights for a further two points. Despite the Paviors ascendancy Rasen, whilst offering very little in attack, defended doggedly and restricted Paviors to two further Oswin penalties before the final whistle put them out of their misery.
The display was very disappointing and Paviors deservedly won the game because they were hungrier for the ball, taking advantage of the Rasen lethargy where there was no sense of urgency. For whatever reason the pride and passion of the previous week had dissipated and needs to be rekindled. On top of this a lack of precision at key moments proved costly and must be eradicated in future games.
The comment of one wit in the clubhouse after the game that the absence of Rasen’s team details in the match day programme summed up the performance as they hadn’t turned up was very appropriate.
Next week Rasen return to Willingham Road with the opportunity to bounce back and heap more misery on win-less Spalding. Kick off 3pm.
Teams: Rasen: Southwell, Alldridge, Ashton, Mills, Pytlik, Starling C, Torres, Chamberlin, Everton C, Sutton, Pridgeon, Robinson, Starling, Harvey, Everton P. Subs: Cole (Southwell), Inman (Pytlik), Lawton (Harvey)
Paviors: Peck, Mason, Dixon, Crossland, Collier, Johnson, Reeson, Collingham, Graham, Oswin, Ratcliffe, Collishaw, Winning, Barnes, Green. Subs: Majewski, Rodgers.