Market Rasen and Louth RFC maintained their perfect start with an uninspiring error-strewn performance against previously unbeaten Loughborough.
Rasen opened the scoring within a minute through a Tom Alldridge penalty after Loughborough were caught offside when they failed to deal with the kick-off.
The lead was short-lived as Loughborough reacted positively from their early setback to push Rasen deep into their own 22.
The home defence was slow to close down Loughborough and centre Aaron Brown found a half-gap and his reach was just enough to make the line.
Fly-half Greg Biddle added the conversion to give the visitors a 7–3 lead after four minutes.
Rasen worked hard to restore the advantage and in the 13th minute conjured up a gem of a try.
After the forwards worked the phases, centre Adam Goodwin injected pace into the backline before the ball was pushed wide for Spen Holvey to join the line and score in the corner.
Any thoughts of an exciting end-to-end encounter soon evaporated as the game descended into a turgid battle.
Loughborough had limited success through their forwards, while Rasen contrived to waste promising positions by losing the ball in contact, inaccurate passing or by conceding penalties.
The only other scoring opportunity in the first half fell to Loughborough, but Biddle’s penalty attempt sailed wide to leave Rasen with a slender 8-7 lead at half-time.
The second period was equally soporific with a little excitement at the beginning and end sandwiching long periods of mediocrity.
Loughborough started strongly through their forwards, but when the backs took over it all fell apart.
Poor passing put them further behind the gain line before the ball was spilled, and scrum-half Ed Nicholls was onto it like a flash.
Hacking the ball downfield he seemed to mistime the final kick as he approached the line, but somehow scooped it up to sprint over the line for a crucial score.
Alldridge added the conversion and the game then descended back into the first half malaise with the same errors repeated.
With the game drawing to a close, Loughborough opted to kick for goal from a penalty to salvage a losing bonus point, but Biddle’s kick drifted wide and bounced off the upright back into play.
Rasen worked the loose ball for Chris Everton to clear, but Biddle took his frustration out on his opposite number with a late tackle.
A minor melee broke out with several players from both sides involved before the referee restored order and sent Biddle to the touchline with a yellow card.
Rasen maintained possession to the end and finally Nicholls kicked the ball out to end the tedium.
The Red and Greens will be pleased with the outcome, but a penalty count of epic proportions let Loughborough off the hook time and again.
Rasen are third in Midlands Two East (North), below Newark and Melbourne who have also won three out of three, and on Saturday Southwell visit Willingham Road for a 3pm kick-off.
Rasen: Ashton, Alldridge, Southwell, Chamberlin, Grant, J. Norton (Crowe), Pryer, McKay, Nicholls, C. Everton, W. Stephens, P. Everton, Goodwin, Pridgeon (T. Stephens), Holvey (Harvey).
* Rasen’s Second XV had another good win as Loughborough arrived with only 12 players.
Bolstered by three Rasen players, the visitors were no match for a rampant Rasen who ran out 64-17 winners.
Past experience has shown that teams will cry off without a full side, but credit to Loughborough for not shirking the challenge.