The Red and Greens maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with a try bonus victory at Newark, but this was far from the perfect display.
There were too many turnovers, unforced errors and were fortunate Newark didn’t make better use of their possession as Rasen failed to fully capitalise on their first quarter dominance.
Rasen began as they had done the opening weekend as Newark barely set foot in the visitors’ half during the first quarter.
Centre Dave Starling’s early run highlighted Newark’s brittle defence, and after continued pressure from the Rasen forwards, Newark were forced to concede a penalty.
From the lineout, the ball was worked for Starling to launch another powerful run, but desperate Newark defence held him up over the line.
The resulting five-metre scrum didn’t go according to plan, but scrum-half Chris Everton reacted quickly to gather and find debutant Greg Wise.
The Canadian winger headed for the try line, driven on by good support, and number eight Ben Chamberlin pilfered the ball to score.
Rasen continued their onslaught and the trusty lineout catch and drive bore fruit as hooker Tom Alldridge positioned himself at the rear of the pack for the inevitable try.
The visitors gathered the restart, but turned the ball over, allowing Newark to display their attacking capabilities. A huge chasm opened in Rasen’s midfield defence and Newark’s strong running took them close.
Desperate defence temporarily halted their progress, but Newark switched play and fly-half Dan Mackie easily outflanked the Rasen defence to cross before converting.
Rasen reacted promptly and, from a penalty lineout, Chamberlin burst through the first line of defence. As Newark regrouped, skipper Chris Starling picked up from the base of the ruck to power his way over. Alldridge landed his first and only successful kick.
Despite this setback, Newark were getting back into the game and finished the half with a flourish.
From broken play, wing Ben Dixon showed his lively attacking prowess by running the ball back across the field.
His penetrating run paved the way for Callum Slack to charge up from full-back and take the final pass to score out wide right on half-time.
From a position of dominance in the first quarter, Rasen found themselves just one score ahead as the second half began.
But in the seventh minute they were given an unexpected advantage when Newark lock Freddie Tatham was yellow-carded. Rasen exacted a severe punishment.
From an attacking scrum in the Newark 22, the Rasen eight easily pushed their depleted opposition back for Chamberlin to pick up.
With support swiftly arriving, the ball was driven on before scrum-half Chris Everton spotted the unprotected blindside and crossed the whitewash.
Newark enlisted a back to bolster their numbers when they were awarded a scrum just outside the Rasen 22, but expert hooker Alldridge took the ball against the head and Chamberlin burst from the base of the scrum to wreak havoc.
Facing an under-strength backline, Rasen worked the ball wide to Wise. The youngster tore down the touchline with a fine turn of pace before calmly popping the ball back inside to John Norman who finished off a brilliant sweeping move.
When Newark were restored to their full compliment the game became more of a contest, but the damage had been done.
The hosts had plenty of possession, but a lack of composure and poor decision-making drove their coaches to distraction.
Newark kept battling and with the final play were held up over the line in a last-ditch attempt for a consolation score.
Rasen: Haig, Alldridge, Southwell, Mills, Thornes, C. Starling, Pryer, Chamberlin, C. Everton, P. Everton, Bemrose, Batterbury, D. Starling, Wise, Norman. Subs: Berger (not used), Cole (Southwell), Everingham (Thornes).
* On Saturday, the Red and Greens return to Willingham Road to take on newly-promoted Newbold-on-Avon who narrowly lost to Kettering 21-19. Kick-off is 3pm.