A second-half demolition job helped Market Rasen and Louth RFC rout an injury-ravaged Old Scouts side on Saturday.
A wretched run of luck had resulted in almost half the visitors’ team being consigned to the touchline through various mishaps, but it took the Red and Greens some time to get into top gear and take advantage.
Rasen began with purpose and led after six minutes through the familiar lineout catch and drive routine, finished off by hooker Tom Alldridge and converted from wide out by Dan Robinson.
The bright start disappeared into a first half of abject mediocrity where the more experienced hosts dominated possession, but wasted it with poor passes, drops and other unforced errors.
In the 25th minute, Old Scouts lock Luke Reeves received a yellow card, but still Rasen couldn’t increase their lead.
In the meantime, the visitors were battling hard with a siege mentality, offering stout resistance to everything the home side threw at them.
This was illustrated by a tackle from full-back Sam Ewbank, probably the smallest player on the field, who felled Nick Harvey with an exquisitely-timed hit to stifle another attack and ensure his side reached half-time only seven points adrift.
The second half was a totally different story as a fired-up Rasen restarted with all guns blazing.
An early penalty was drilled to touch and within two minutes the tried and trusted catch and drive saw Ben Chamberlin touch down.
From the restart, Chris Mills gathered the ball and drove up field into the heart of Northampton’s pack. Robinson launched a towering kick, and under pressure from Rasen’s determined chase, the ball was spilled and Harvey ran in a third try.
Robinson continued to mix up his game when a chip through initially eluded Tom Stephens with an unkind bounce, but the winger quickly adjusted to claim the ball and set off on a powerful diagonal run.
When he was halted, the supporting forwards did their job of recycling and Robinson jinked his way under the posts for the bonus-point try, quickly followed by his own conversion.
The increase in tempo and improved accuracy blew the visitors away and things got worse when Iain Simmons was sin-binned for impeding a quick tap-penalty.
Rasen took play back deep into the Old Scouts 22 where Chris Everton sniped for the line with a scrum-half break, rarely seen this season.
Everton’s progress was stopped just short of the line, but the support was good and Mills wrestled the ball clear to power under the posts to leave Robinson with a simple conversion.
The high kick continued to be a potent weapon as Adam Goodwin’s perfectly-timed chase saw the full-back arrive while the ball was half-gathered by the defender.
Smart work by Goodwin stripped the ball clear and Chamberlin gratefully accepted the pass to saunter in down under the posts.
Robinson’s conversion capped the scoring in a second half which bore little resemblance to the half-cocked affair of the first.
Rasen: C. Starling, Alldridge, Southwell (Haig), Mills, Inman (Pilkington), Grant, Pryer, Chamberlin, C. Everton, Robinson, Stephens, Goodison, Gutteridge, Harvey (White), Goodwin.
* On Saturday, Rasen travel to Old Scouts’ near neighbours, Old Northamptonians for a 2.15pm kick-off.
Travelling supporters should note that ONs charge an admission fee.