A poor start cost Market Rasen and Louth RFC dear as they slipped to a narrow Midlands One East defeat at Paviors on Saturday, writes The Tache.
Rasen failed to secure possession from the kick-off as Paviors, thrashed at Kettering seven days earlier, poured through to regain the ball. And after a patient build-up, winger Ollie Barnes was put in the clear to score in the corner within a minute.
It set the tone for much of the first half as Paviors dominated possession and territory, leaving Rasen to fight a rearguard action. Yet Paviors’ only other scoring opportunity was a missed penalty from fly-half Chris Oswin.
Rasen centre Dave Starling then made an interception on halfway and went clear. Aware he didn’t have the legs to reach the line, Starling cleverly slowed down and moved across field to find the support of Adam Beasley whose arcing run was too much for the chasing defenders as he scored in the corner.
Hooker Tom Alldridge then gave the visitors an unlikely lead with a superb touchline conversion.
It was soon back to business as usual with Paviors resuming their attacks, but the score had given Rasen increased confidence as they began to see more of the ball.
With the hosts pressing on the counter-attack, scrum-half Chris Everton strayed offside and was given a yellow card two minutes before half-time.
Paviors almost scored through prop Anthony Dixon, but his double roll over the line was deemed illegal as Rasen clung on to their slender lead at the break.
The second half was largely forgettable apart from the fact it was played in a bizarre time continuum.
In the first minute Alldridge lined up an ambitious penalty attempt with the ulterior motive of eating into the sin-binning time. The kick fell short and Everton wasn’t recalled to the field for a further nine minutes.
Paviors upped the tempo again with flanker Ollie Collingham’s strong running causing mayhem and forcing Rasen to concede a penalty which Oswin again missed.
But five minutes later the fly-half made amends with another penalty to put Paviors ahead.
In the 19th minute Rasen received their second yellow card when number eight Ben Chamberlin was banished to the touchline, leaving Oswin to extend Paviors’ lead to 11-7 with another penalty.
Paviors continued to dominate, but the Red and Greens still showed glimpses of attacking prowess to suggest a dramatic comeback was possible.
But this all came to nought when the final whistle blew with Chamberlin still languishing in the sinbin.
This was either the longest sinbinning in history or the half had been cut short. Either way Rasen were denied the opportunity to snatch victory and Paviors denied the chance to increase their lead and steal away Rasen’s losing bonus point.
On the balance of play a Paviors win was probably the right result, but timing issues soured the game.
The Red and Greens showed remarkable resilience with resolute defending close to their line after a dreadful start, but the backline defence still needs work with no leader emerging to marshal the line.
Rasen: Haig, Alldridge, Southwell, Mills, Thornes, C. Starling, L. Dearden, Chamberlin, C. Everton, Wise, Batterbury, Beasley, D. Starling, Goodwin, Norman. Subs: Brown (Southwell).
* On Saturday, Rasen host Newark at Willingham Road in the quarter-final of the NLD Cup.