Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 12 - 20 Syston 1st XV
Set piece drills dominated the scoring as Rasen pushed Syston to the limit and were desperately unlucky not to get anything out of the match for their spirited performance on Saturday.
Syston made a strong start to the game and took the lead after only two minutes following a well worked line out catch and drive finished off by flanker Matt Furgusson.
The visitors maintained their early momentum keeping Rasen pinned in their own half and doubled their lead in the 11th minute in similar fashion. Rasen conceded a penalty that was then drilled into touch to put the Syston catch and drive routine into action again for hooker Craig Locko to make the touchdown.
Rasen had been punished for their slow start, but when the red and green engine was finally sparked into life the Rasen eight showed what a formidable unit they can be. Syston managed to halt a Rasen lineout catch and drive, but were then penalised for pulling down the next scrum to present the home side with another lineout opportunity.
This lineout catch and drive was thwarted as Rasen were adjudged to have committed an accidental offside offence. However the red and green fire was still burning brightly and the forwards were soon back on the offensive. Another catch and drive instigated a succession of rumbles culminating in trainee number eight Ollie Cole forcing his way over the line. Dan Robinson added the conversion to bring Rasen right back into the game.
Syston reacted positively and were soon back in Rasen territory forcing a five metre scrum, but the home pack’s dominance caused the Syston scrum to crumble as they were penalised for pulling down again.
The introduction of young number eight Henry Spencer from the bench added an extra dimension to the already solid forward platform and it was he who instigated a promising attack from just outside the Rasen twenty two. After a fine break from the young tyro, clever interplay between backs and forwards took Rasen deeper into Syston territory before the move floundered when it was over complicated. After a dismal start Rasen had upped their game and went into the interval only 7–10 adrift.
It was an inauspicious start to the second half as Matt Sutton’s restart failed to travel 10 metres and Syston opted for the scrum. Moments later Rasen were back in possession following an inaccurate Syston throw and the red and green juggernaut put together a series of drives to push the visitors ever closer to their own line.
With Rasen in command they were awarded a scrum in the Syston twenty two, but were then inexplicably penalised for pulling the scrum round. Syston relieved the pressure and quickly made their way up field where Rasen were forced to concede a five metre scrum, but once again the red and green eight triumphed as they pushed Syston back.
The respite was short lived as Syston came back with a vengeance to switch play to the opposite side of the field with the arcing run of fullback Warren Coles just taking him over in the corner despite the valiant attempted cover tackle from Chris Everton.
Feelings ran high when Spencer’s tackle on Syston flyhalf James Morgan, which at worst was marginally late, ended with a minor skirmish among a posse of players and earned the youngster a yellow card, which could have been construed as compensation for Josh Lawton’s earlier clumsy effort that went unpunished.
The undercurrent of this incident continued and two minutes later another minor fracas erupted that resulted in mild mannered pedagogue Chris Mills and Syston centre Adam Nunney both receiving an unscheduled 10 minute break.
Rasen won the resultant scrum to underline their burgeoning set piece supremacy, but it was a long raking kick from Syston deep into the Rasen twenty two that caused the next problem. As the ball was bobbling towards the touchline Lawton was adjudged to have slapped it into touch, when from the opposite side of the field it looked like he had tried to tap the ball back into play. Syston wheeled out their catch and drive again to complete a hat trick of tries from this potent weapon.
Rasen responded in similar fashion six minutes later with their own catch and drive where the unrelenting power of the men in red and green drove lock Tom Pytlik over the line for his maiden first team try.
Syston could have killed the game off when first they butchered a glorious overlap with a poor pass behind winger Dan Bower, forcing him to check his stride with the line at his mercy and then a relatively easy penalty kick was badly hooked by substitute Rich Rees.
Rasen battled to the end with the hard working forwards making inroads in the quest for a score that would have gained a deserved losing bonus point, but alas it was not to be.
Rasen were caught cold by Syston’s high tempo start, but established themselves as the dominant force in the set piece scrums and overall won the forward battle. Despite the result this was probably the best performance this season so far and has laid a foundation that can be built upon.
On Saturday Rasen make the short trip to Newark, just one point above the red and greens in the league table and no doubt smarting from their defeat this week at Mansfield.
Teams: Rasen: Haig, Alldridge, Southwell, Mills, Pytlik, Starling C, Chamberlin, Cole, Everton C, Sutton, Lawton, Robinson, Starling D, Harvey, Everton P. Subs: Ashton (Haig), Gregory (Sutton), Spencer (Cole)
Syston: Dawson, Locko, Kilby, Chapman, Henson, Furgusson, Edmonds, Davey, Cavnor, Morgan, Bower, Nunney, Smith, Lorriman, Coles. Subs: Booth, Rees, Cartwright