Midlands 1 East
Market Rasen & Louth 10
Market Rasen and Louth’s First XV retained their faith in the side that ran Kettering so close last week, but sadly the Red and Greens were unable to replicate that performance.
And despite playing well for long periods, there were too many errors that a workmanlike Wellingborough side punished with a 36-10 victory.
The opening exchanges were fairly even with both teams testing each other, with Rasen building through the forwards.
In the 12th minute Rasen had the ball and seemed to be in full control of possession until a telegraphed pass was easily read by Kieran Checkley and the winger sped to the line for an interception try, converted by flyhalf Pete Vickers.
Rasen maintained their composure and the hardworking forwards continued to patiently work their way into Wellingborough territory.
The pressure eventually told and Tom Alldridge was presented with his first penalty opportunity, which he dispatched with ease to put the Red and Greens on the scoreboard.
Moments later Rasen seemed to have everything under control again until possession was lost in contact on the edge of their 22.
Wellingborough seized on the opportunity with Vickers deft grubber kick behind the oncoming Rasen defence being gathered by Checkley, and his electric pace did the rest.
After receiving two gift wrapped opportunities, Wellingborough created a third try from their own work as they used their forwards to push deep into Rasen’s 22.
After several phases number eight Chris Shipman forced his way over the whitewash, close to the posts leaving Vickers with a simple conversion.
The gap in the scoreline was increasing, but Rasen’s spirit was undiminished as they worked their way into Wellingborough’s 22.
The visitors absorbed the pressure, but eventually conceded a penalty where Rasen opted for a scrum.
The men in red and green destroyed the opposition scrum to force another penalty and again opted for a reset.
Rasen shunted Wellingborough backwards and number eight Will Thornes picked up to charge over the line only for the score to be ruled out for accidental offside as he brushed past scrumhalf Jeremy Pope.
Wellingborough cleared their lines and Rasen remained 19–3 adrift at the interval, with the wind to face in the second half.
Rasen began the second half like a steam train and gained an unexpected advantage within two minutes when Wellingborough flyer Checkley was sin binned.
A strong run from centre Scott Brown punched a hole through the Wellingborough defence to leave a two versus one with substitute Dave Starling in support, but Starling couldn’t hold on to the pass and the chance was gone.
Almost immediately, Brown was back on the ball again and this time his stampeding run was unstoppable as he charged over the line.
Alldridge added the conversion and Rasen appeared to be back in contention.
A second Wellingborough yellow card saw Vickers banished to the touchline to give Rasen a temporary two-man advantage.
However, Rasen were unable to capitalise on this and in fact conceded two penalties in quick succession that Wellingborough fullback Ryan Mackie attempted from long distance, more in hope than anticipation and certainly as a means of counting down the sin binning time.
It was Rasen’s turn to receive a yellow card in the 61st minute as flanker Jake Pryer’s exocet like tackle was harshly deemed to be dangerous and this time Mackie did manage to nail the kick to increase the visitors lead.
Rasen’s woes increased when Pope’s pass gave Dave Starling little chance and the spilled ball was pounced on by centre Tom Bryan who displayed a fine turn of pace to sprint clear and dot down under the posts.
Vickers’ successful conversion compounded the mistake and Rasen had been undone again by an unforced error.
Following a penalty miss from Vickers, Wellingborough attacked through hooker Freddie Davidson, who should have been stopped early in his run, but with Rasen seemingly abandoning any thought of tackling he charged up field before off loading for the speedster Checkley to complete his hat-trick under the posts.
Vickers sealed the game with his final conversion and Rasen were left to rue some slip shod play that had.
After last week’s wholehearted performance, this was very disappointing particularly as there had been periods in this game when Rasen had played some good quality controlled rugby.
Wellingborough were not that much better than Rasen and the scoreline flattered them, but they made fewer errors and punished the home mistakes with some clinical finishing.
There are certainly plusses to be taken from this game and it now appears that it is mental toughness and belief that will define the season as Rasen seek to move up the table.
RASEN: C. Starling, Alldridge, Haig, Inman, Crowe, Chamberlin, Pryer, Thornes, Pope, Wise, Cooper, Brown, Batterbury, Stephens, Goodwin; Replacements: Mills, Southwell, D. Starling.
Next week Rasen are again at home where Newark provide the opposition for a 2.15 kick off.