Market Rasen and Louth RFC registered their fourth win in five matches as they demolished a below-par Ilkeston on Saturday.
The Red and Greens opened the scoring in the 20th minute following a five-metre scrum when Dan Robinson’s lunge was just enough to reach the line for the opening try.
Robinson added the conversion before suffering a reverse of fortune five minutes later when his kick was charged down by Ryan Gee.
The Ilkeston flanker gathered the ball and surged in under the posts, leaving a simple conversion for Joel Haigh to level.
But the visitors then took a firm grip of the match and restored their lead when Nick Harvey sprinted up the touchline to score in the corner after good work among the forwards created field position.
A strong charge from workhorse Chris Mills then caused panic in the Ilkeston ranks with would-be tacklers brushed aside as he careered upfield.
Smart recycling retained possession before unleashing the backline where Paul Gutteridge was held up over the line after an incisive run to give Rasen another attacking five metre scrum.
From there Robinson repeated his earlier score, followed by the conversion to give Rasen a 19–7 half-time lead.
Full of confidence and now playing down the slope, it took Rasen just three minutes to score again and secure a try bonus point.
Put into a scrum deep in their own 22, Ilkeston just managed to keep the ball as their creaking pack went backwards.
But the Red and Green pressure on was too much and a turnover saw the ball spun wide for Tom Stephens to score in the corner.
Robinson was revelling in the steady stream of possession as he ran from deep and chipped over the advancing defence only to be brought to a halt prematurely with a tackle from Joe Marsden before he had reached the ball.
This earned the Ilkeston winger 10 minutes in the sin bin as Robinson drilled the penalty into touch within sight of the Ilkeston line.
The catch and drive almost effortlessly secured possession as Peter Everton came into the line from full-back to wrong-foot the defence and scamper in over the whitewash.
Another gaffe for Robinson ensued, despite his glittering display, as the youngster somehow missed the simple conversion as the ball skimmed the underside of the crossbar.
The sides were evened up four minutes later when Adam Dearden’s ill-advised tip tackle earned the centre a yellow card, but Rasen’s dominance was not diminished.
A further penalty kick to touch launched another catch and drive assault which saw Mills emerge from the maul to power his way over the line.
Robinson overcame his earlier embarrassment with a superbly struck conversion to extend the lead.
The Ilkeston forwards were visibly crumbling against a Rasen eight in full command with a scrum turnover setting the platform for Ben Chamberlin to pick up from the base.
The number eight drove into the heart of the home defence to pave the way for Gutteridge to cut through the wilting cover and get his name on the scoresheet.
Robinson added the conversion as the game slipped further away from the Elks.
As Rasen continued to play a more expansive style, quick ball off the top of a lineout sparked a training ground move, executed to perfection.
Young Spencer Holvey marked his first team debut from the bench with a perfectly timed run to enter the line from his blindside wing position.
Keeping a cool head, he delivered a wobbly, but accurate, pass for Everton to take in his stride and put Stephens away in the corner, much to the delight of coach Matt Sutton.
Three minutes later the referee ended the game a full seven minutes early following an Ilkeston injury.
This was a very encouraging performance with a clear will to play a more expansive game, resulting in all but one try scored by the backs.
With players to return from injury, Rasen should go from strength to strength and banish the misery of last season’s relegation struggle.
Rasen: C. Starling, Alldridge, Southwell (Haig), Pilkington (Grant), Inman, Mills, Pryer, Chamberlin, M. Starling, Robinson, Stephens, Dearden, Gutteridge, Harvey (Holvey), P. Everton.
* Ninth-placed Rasen return to Willingham Road on Saturday for a stern test of their improvement against third-placed Kettering. Kick-off 2.15pm.