Market Rasen and Louth RFC were left to ponder how they had dominated Northampton Old Scouts, but still lost the Midlands One East clash.
The Red and Greens showed more cohesion, but went down 19-13 as lapses in concentration allowed Old Scouts to keep the scoreboard ticking over with penalties and a breakaway try.
The first quarter belonged to the hosts as they kept Rasen virtual prisoners in their own half.
The visitors soaked up the early pressure, but when attempting to run the ball from their own 22, conceded a penalty for holding on and Scouts fly-half Adam Frost opened his account with a simple kick.
But the hosts couldn’t pierce a determined defence and eventually Rasen shook the long journey out of their system to launch a series of forays into opposition territory.
From a lineout following a penalty, Rasen worked the phases to bring Meehal Grint into the line. The full-back cut back across, but his deft flick up just short of the line was knocked on and the chance was lost.
The ball was won back at the ensuing scrum and Dave Starling picked up to launch another attack. Will Inman’s strong carry had the Old Scouts back-pedalling before offloading for Dave Starling to power his way over the line. Grint added the conversion.
Three minutes later a lapse in concentration gave Old Scouts three easy points from another Frost penalty, and then, with the forwards beginning to dominate the set scrum, another needless penalty allowed Frost to put Northampton ahead.
Rasen resumed their battering of the home defence with another powerful Inman charge taking them within striking distance of the line.
On the stroke of half-time Old Scouts capitulated as hooker Andrew Morris was sin-binned and Grint added the penalty for a 10–9 half-time lead.
Rasen tails were up after the break as they carved open the Old Scouts defence, but the final pass did not go to hand with the whitewash at their mercy.
And another momentary lapse let Old Scouts back into the game as the unerring Frost added his fourth penalty to regain the lead.
Dan Robinson’s long kick forced a hurried clearance which ballooned upwards into the arms of chasing flanker Jake Pryer.
But with the home defence in disarray, Rasen faltered and lost their chance with another knock-on.
The turning point of the game came against the run of play when Old Scout’s centre Liam Hancock lifted the siege. His powerful run was met with some unusually weak defence and eluded half-hearted tackles.
Rasen’s scrambling defence eventually brought him down, but Dean Lake was in close support to take the pass and wriggle his way over the line.
Frost maintained his perfect record with a well-struck conversion which took Old Scouts two scores ahead with 12 minutes left.
Robinson landed a penalty in the 35th minute as Rasen piled on the pressure, and moments later he shredded the home defence with a scintillating run deep into the 22.
Rasen continued to pummel the home defence, but Old Scouts were saved with another front row injury which ensured they gained possession from the final uncontested scrum.
On Saturday. Rasen return to Willingham Road (ko 3pm) to face second-placed Old Northamptonians who narrowly lost to Lutterworth last weekend.
Rasen: C. Starling, Alldridge, Southwell (McMillan), Mills (Crowe), Inman, Chamberlin, Pryer, D. Starling, M. Starling, Robinson, Cooper (Harvey), J. Norton, Wallis, T. Stephens, Grint.