RUGBY: Market Rasen tempo too much for Huntingdon to handle

Chris Everton races towards the try line for Market Rasen 1sts
Chris Everton races towards the try line for Market Rasen 1sts

Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 48 - 7 Huntingdon & District 1st XV

After a week off Rasen welcomed Huntingdon for their first ever visit to Willingham Road and served up a feast of attacking rugby.

Rasen made their intentions clear from the start as they skilfully maintained possession and forced Huntingdon to concede an early penalty in the second minute, which fullback Meehal Grint slotted with ease between the uprights.

Within a minute the visitors were again facing another Grint shot at goal as Rasen ran in their first try straight from the restart. Lock Chris Mills gathered the kick off and tore through the advancing defenders. The flanking duo of Dave Starling and Jake Pryor then took turns to take the ball on at pace before offloading for centre George Eddell to gallop in under the posts leaving Grint with a simple conversion.

Rasen continued at a high tempo and revelled in the space being afforded by the opposition as Mills and prop Ollie Cole rampaged up field before scrumhalf Chris Everton’s more subtle running took the ball on. With one defender to beat and support either side Everton opted for the more difficult pass, but skipper Starling was up to the task with just enough momentum to reach the line. Grint continued his fine kicking form with the conversion to give Rasen a 17 point lead after only six minutes.

The old cliché of getting the journey out of the system was still hanging over Huntingdon when prop Dick Smith received a yellow card for an illegal challenge and inadvertently primed the red and greens highly potent catch and drive routine. The drill worked to perfection with Cole emerging triumphant from the bottom of the Rasen juggernaut and Grint compounded the punishment with another well struck conversion.

The lineout provided the platform for the next score with off the top ball quickly moved for blindside wing Dan Robinson to appear alongside fly half Matt Sutton. The young flyer’s timing was perfect as his angled running sliced open the defence to complete a flawless move.

Another Grint conversion stretched the lead, but slowly and surely the Stags from Huntingdon were emerging from their slumber and began to pose Rasen some problems. The red and greens were powerless to suppress a series of drives from the visitors and after playing a penalty advantage, a further indiscretion resulted in the referee heading beneath the posts and awarding a penalty try. Fullback Dan Mailman added the conversion.

However wounded by this score, the red and greens rounded off the half in magnificent fashion. Another stampede from Cole took the ball deep into Huntingdon’s territory and following excellent recycling, the giant prop was on hand again to force his way over the line for his second try. Grint maintained his fine form with the boot with the conversion that gave Rasen a healthy 38 – 7 lead at the interval.

The second half was a more even affair. The visitors’ lineout had functioned very efficiently with lock Jordan Crowe ruling his own possession, but in the 19th minute he was adjudged to have taken a player out in the air at a Rasen throw-in and yellow carded for a 10 minute break on the touchline. This handed the initiative back to Rasen with almost inevitable consequences as the ensuing penalty was drilled into touch. The scene was now set for an encore performance of the deadly catch and drive, which pushed Huntingdon closer to their line until substitute lock Dan Carson peeled off and dotted down to mark his first team debut with a try.

Huntingdon had already been disrupted with earlier injuries, but with prop Steve Chantler forced to leave the field, the absence of any further qualified front row players blunted the Rasen set piece as the scrums became uncontested. At a scrum deep in the Huntingdon twenty-two Ben Chamberlin picked up at eight and broke blind, ably supported by flanker Starling, with Cole on hand to power his way over the whitewash to complete his hat trick.

Despite the scoreline Huntingdon kept fighting until the end and were unlucky not to be awarded a try when they were ruled to have been held up.

For twenty five minutes Rasen were irresistible, playing high tempo attacking rugby with excellent support play where everything went to plan. Ineffectual defending by the visitors in that period also aided the cause, but frailties in any opposition have to be exploited and Rasen certainly did that. When Huntingdon finally woke up it was more of a contest, but Rasen were never in danger of losing and perhaps took their foot off the gas.

Next week Rasen move from Stags to Elks as they visit Ilkeston who lie three places below Rasen in the league and will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at Mansfield this week.

Teams

Rasen: Ashton, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Crowe, Pryor, Starling D, Chamberlin, Everton C, Sutton, Robinson, Eddell, Beasley, Harvey, Grint

Subs: Carson (Mills), Everton P (Robinson), Wootton (Cole)

Huntingdon & District: Smith, Muggeridge, Chantler, Bentley, Crowe, Parker, Shakespeare, Davies-Binge, Skidmore, Chapman, Bradley, North, Murphy, Tamoliunis, Mailman

Subs: Osbourne, Strangeways, Howard

Team P W D L F A Diff B Pts Pts

Peterborough Lions 11 11 0 0 490 182 308 11 55

Derby 11 10 0 1 312 219 93 8 48

Newark 11 9 0 2 305 237 68 5 41

Bugbrooke 11 8 0 3 320 242 78 8 40

Old Northamptonians 11 8 0 3 225 176 49 6 38

Market Rasen & Louth 11 5 1 5 321 267 54 9 31

Mansfield 11 5 1 5 244 246 -2 5 27

Kettering 11 4 0 7 292 237 55 6 22

Ilkeston 11 4 0 7 221 219 2 5 21

Paviors 11 4 1 6 209 271 -62 3 21

Huntingdon & District 11 3 0 8 168 310 -142 6 18

Matlock 11 3 0 8 193 357 -164 5 17

Coalville 11 1 0 10 201 375 -174 5 9

Peterborough 11 0 1 10 190 353 -163 4 6