Market Rasen and Louth RFC’s winless start to the season was extended with cup defeat against higher-league Derby on Saturday.
Midlands Premier League side Derby arrived at Willingham Road as the holders of the NLD Cup and they progressed through to the semi-finals with a narrow win against the Red and Greens.
A youthful Derby side effectively won the match in the opening 20 minutes with three good tries, but Rasen were far from beaten and used their forward strength to make the final hour difficult for the visitors.
Rasen had found themselves two scores down inside six minutes in their previous match against Syston, and fell behind once more after six minutes as Derby worked the ball from just outside their own 22 and moved it wide.
Strong running from Culligan, Woods and Campbell took Derby to the Rasen line where Martin received the inside pass to cross.
Derby extended their lead five minutes later with another well-worked try, Ollie George crossing the line after a break from Lee and strong running through the middle from Martin and Woods. Martin kicked the conversion.
Rasen remained on the back foot and the third Derby try came with just 20 minutes on the clock from a lineout 15 metres from the hosts’ line.
Quick ball and good hands moved the ball across field to allow George Campbell to touch down in the corner (17-0).
Good Rasen defence denied more Derby scores, and as the half progressed the hosts began to get a foothold through their experienced pack.
On 33 minutes after some excellent forward pressure, Rasen inside centre Dearden collected the ball as the supporting runner to go over for their opening score.
Rasen started the second half as they had ended the first with their forwards dominating possession, particularly in the set piece.
Derby defended resolutely with much of the game played out in the middle of the pitch.
And continued pressure broke Derby’s defence on the hour when a missed tackle midway in their half allowed Rasen to move forward at pace.
The ball found its way to the outside centre Pridgeon on the loop to score wide on the right.
Derby were forced to play out the final 15 minutes in defence, and the final whistle brought a sigh of relief as the hosts looked to get on terms.
Rasen will hope to build on the performance when they return to Midlands One East league action on Saturday at Bedford Athletic.
Bedford lie second with five wins from as many matches.