Midlands 1 East
Northampton Old Scouts 32
Market Rasen & Louth 24
A first half to forget cost Market Rasen & Louth any hopes of a Midlands 1 East victory at Northampton Old Scouts.
The Red and Greens began the game efficiently and controlled the opening 12 minutes - but then the wheels fell off.
With their first attack, Scouts flyhalf Adam Frost made a telling break that was swiftly followed by quick recycling of the ball. One missed tackle later and fullback Sam French was gleefully crossing the whitewash.
Frost added the conversion and worse was to follow five minutes later when winger Glyn Roff mesmerised the visitors with his dazzling footwork to pave the way for the ball to be moved to the opposite wing where Dean Lake sped in at the corner.
A Frost bomb was comfortably fielded by scrumhalf Chris Everton, who fed John Norman to launch a counter attack, but the fullback’s subsequent pass missed its intended target and Scouts centre Liam Hancock was on hand to scoop up the ball to gallop in under the posts, leaving Frost with a simple conversion.
The Rasen nightmare still wasn’t over as number eight Ben Chamberlin picked up a yellow card and Frost slotted the penalty home to put Scouts 22-0 up.
Sensing Rasen had issues with the high ball, Frost launched another towering kick, but winger Adam Beasley fielded the kick with ease and returned it with interest.
Scouts let the ball bounce and lock Will Thornes was on hand to take the ball on before passing to centre Dave Starling, who was now at full tilt to charge over the line.
Hooker Tom Alldridge added the conversion and one would have hoped some stability had been regained by the visitors, but alas this was not to be the case as Scouts hit back almost immediately.
A quick tap penalty from scrumhalf Matthew Brown caught Rasen napping and Lake doubled his tally, again converted by Frost.
With the half drawing to a close, home prop Maurice Bazini found his break coming a little early with a yellow card and Alldridge slotted the penalty with the final kick of the half, leaving Rasen 10-29 adrift at the interval.
Rasen began the second period at a high tempo.
The home defence couldn’t cope with Rasen’s early onslaught and, after conceding a penalty, the Red and Greens unveiled the deadly catch and drive for substitute prop Dave Haig to make the score.
Alldridge’s superb touchline conversion further chipped away at the deficit.
A hurried pass from Peter Everton was juggled and clung onto by Beasley.
The winger found Chris Everton, who drew the oncoming defender before passing to winger Greg Wise, who calmly followed the same procedure as Chamberlin came stampeding up in support on the outside.
With the defence broken the Rasen number eight flew in under the posts to leave Alldridge with a regulation two points.
Entering the final quarter Rasen were tantalisingly only one score behind.
Scouts suddenly found a new lease of life and managed to put together a sustained period of pressure, forcing Rasen to soak it up and cede territory.
Scouts were awarded a crucial penalty in front of the posts and Frost made no mistake to give the hosts a two-score cushion.
Rasen were not done yet, but some baffling decisions from the official were an added hindrance.
With the final play of the game Rasen forward power had the Scouts backpedalling over their line, but the referee declined to award the score and blew for the end of the game.
RASEN: C. Starling, Alldridge, Southwell, Mills, Thornes, L. Dearden, Pryer, Chamberlin, C. Everton, P. Everton, Beasley, Batterbury, D. Starling, Wise, Norman; Subs: Haig, Inman, Goodwin.
On Saturday, Rasen return to Willingham Road, where bottom side Old Laurentians are the visitors (KO 3pm).