The superb national cup run of Market Rasen and Louth RFC Colts came to an end at the semi-final stage with a narrow defeat to Moseley.
The pre-match team talk for the Divisional National Cup Semi-Final was all about belief, while taking a moment to realise what the squad had achieved this season as well as the seasons before.
The later kick-off time, to help the visitors travelling from Birmingham, allowed many at club training that morning to see the game and support the Colts.
Rasen and Louth produced a season-best performance in the first half as the forwards enjoyed the battle against a bigger pack, having benefitted from scrum training with the seniors just a few days before.
Driving the scrum back each time, they disrupted quality ball to the Moseley backs and with pressure from the back line, they forced mistakes.
With the home team spending most of the half in Moseley’s half, the Rasen backs also had their chance to shine, breaking the line with confidence and against strong opponents.
Rasen struck first with a penalty in front of the posts, but twice they were tackled just short of the opposition line as Moseley’s strong defence prevented the home side from increasing their lead.
With strong support from the touchline, Rasen dominated the half and were by far the better team, but on the stroke of half-time Moseley capitalised on a rare handling error on the Rasen line and scored in the corner to take a 5-3 lead into the break.
The half-time team talk didn’t need much input from the coaches who just asked for a repeat of the first-half performance and a win.
As with most Colt teams, their weakness is the number of replacements against a Moseley squad with a full compliment of subs. This would prove the turning point of the game against bigger opponents.
The Rasen forwards started to tire and for the later part of the match could not match the physicality of Moseley’s pack.
The visitors scored twice and increased the lead to 17-3, but the whole team dug deep and continued with the spirit and pride shown in the first half.
With only a few minutes left, the hosts took possession up to the Moseley line where a well-worked lineout, set up quick ball for the backs. A kick to the corner saw the hosts score a well-deserved try to go down 18-7.
Coach Andrew Palmer said: “This Colts team can hold their heads high.
“To achieve this level of rugby in a national competition, they have done the club proud.”