Another slow start and a patchwork performance saw Market Rasen and Louth RFC dumped out of the NLD Cup by Newark on Saturday.
Newark arrived full of passion and belief, traits sadly lacking in the Red and Greens for much of the game.
The visitors began at a high tempo and soon had Rasen retreating. David Haig’s yellow card in the fourth minute was punished by a successful Alex Scott penalty to put Newark ahead.
They continued to pile on the pressure and poor tackling allowed centre Aloesi Waqalevu to stroll in to extend the lead.
Rasen finally got going, demonstrating scrum dominance when the home seven shunted back a full Newark pack before number eight Ben Chamberlin picked up and forced his way over the whitewash.
The hosts continued to attack with Adam Goodwin agonisingly short of the line when a last-ditch tackle pushed him into touch.
Newark weathered the mini onslaught and worked their way upfield with a strong driving maul. The visitors broke away again and recycled the ball almost at will until flanker Jamie Duncan peeled off to cross the line. Dan Mackie converted.
The Red and Greens were jolted back into life as they pinned Newark deep in their own 22. A forwards drive from a lineout steal was stopped short, but Everton dug the ball from the ruck and found Ollie Cole who bulldozed his way over.
Tom Alldridge added the conversion to leave Rasen three points adrift at half-time.
The hosts went ahead seven minutes into the second half as Chamberlin charged down the touchline.
But concentration levels dropped again as Rasen failed to gather the restart and Newark regained possession. The home defence switched off as Connor Slack weaved his way to the line to restore Newark’s lead with a converted try.
Rasen’s forwards took play deep into Newark’s 22 and forced a penalty close to the line. Rasen opted for a five-metre scrum and Newark capitulated with another penalty.
Another scrum with the same outcome resulted in yet another scrum, but Rasen lost control and Newark hacked clear, thankful to avoid a penalty try.
With Newark lock Richard Primett yellow-carded, Rasen were soon back within sight of the line.
The home forwards continued to batter their way forward until Pete Southwell was driven over. Alldridge’s conversion put Rasen back in front with a quarter of the game left.
Once again Rasen’s concentration switch was flicked off, and Slack couldn’t believe his luck as he strode over the line almost unimpeded.
Worse followed as a penalty was quickly followed by a scrum from which Newark won clean ball and Waqalevu’s incisive line took him under the posts.
Mackie’s conversion left Rasen needing two scores for a miraculous victory, but again they upped their game with Cole taking play deep into Newark territory.
As Greg Wise stopped, the Newark defence froze and the youngster slipped through a gap to cross the line. After Alldridge’s successful conversion, everyone thought time was up, but the referee indicated a further eight minutes.
In a frantic finale, Rasen were awarded a penalty, but out of Alldridge’s range. Rasen continued with their route one approach, but Newark held out.
Rasen: Haig, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Inman, L. Dearden, Pryer, Chamberlin, C. Everton, Wise, Cooper, Beasley, Batterbury, Goodwin, Norman. Subs: Southwell (Cole), Thornes (Inman), F. Norton (not used).
* Rasen return to Midlands League One action on Saturday as they welcome high-flying Bedford Athletic to Willingham Road.