Ilkeston 1st XV 31
Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 12
A MUCH changed Rasen team travelled to Ilkeston looking for a significant improvement on last week’s abject performance.
But despite their sterling efforts the home side were determined to avenge their defeat at Willingham Road and did so with a display of controlled attacking rugby.
Ilkeston had first use of the wind and slope to quickly secure a foothold in the Rasen twenty–two, which resulted in a penalty converted by fullback Jonno Falls to open the scoring in the third minute.
Rasen came back almost immediately as Rory Murphy picked up from number eight and made huge inroads through the Ilkeston defence before the Elks conceded a penalty to stop the red and green advance.
A kick to touch set up the well rehearsed catch and drive that put flanker Ben Chamberlin over for the first try of the match.
Thereafter the first half belonged to Ilkeston as the Elks forwards and backs combined to pose all manner of threats, which for long periods were met with stout red and green defending.
Fly half Ben Gatehouse created a try as he sliced through the Rasen defence with an incisive run before offloading to hard running centre Alex Ayres, who crashed over the whitewash under the posts leaving Falls an easy conversion.
The red and greens soaked up the pressure and defended valiantly until scrumhalf Joel Haigh picked the Rasen lock and darted through a gap to dive over with Falls again adding the extras.
As the half drew to a close, Rasen had remained resolute against the grip Ilkeston had taken on the game, but a late penalty saw Rasen fall victim to their own speciality as the Ilkeston catch and drive powered lock Simon Bennett over the line. Falls maintained his one hundred percent kicking record to take his side into the break with a 24 – 5 lead.
As the second half began Rasen had the use of the elements, but the committed defending in the first half had clearly been an energy sapper.
After an early Rasen attack, the Elks made their way back into red and green territory forcing the visitors to concede a penalty.
Ilkeston opted for the scrum that gave a platform for lively scrumhalf Haigh to make a strong break to bag his second try and secure a try bonus point.
Rasen saw a bit more of the ball in the second half, but Ilkeston maintained their control of the game until Rasen persistence produced a try for winger Nick Harvey, converted by Meehal Grint with the last kick of the game.
Ilkeston had been the better side and fully deserved their victory, giving Rasen an object lesson on how to quickly switch the point of attack from one side of the pitch to the other.
However with all the changes disrupting the side this had been a character building performance showing a lot of grit and determination against a side considerably better than the previous week’s opponents.
Hopefully the debacle that was Leighton Buzzard has now been laid to rest and the side can make further progress in the remaining fixtures.
Next week Rasen are on the road again with a tough trip to Towcestrians, who are unlikely to capitulate in the same manner they had done in the home encounter earlier in the season.
Rasen: Starling C, Oliver, Cole, Mills, Thornes, Dearden L, Chamberlin, Murphy, Starling M, Jones, Cunningham, Grint, Dearden A, Harvey, Ward
Subs: Barr (Dearden L), Inman (Mills), Southwell (Cole)
Ilkeston: McGuire, Moore, Wells, Bennett, Fowkes, Quinn, McKelvey, Corcoran, Haigh, Gatehouse, Taylor L, Taylor D, Ayres, Mahoney, Falls
Subs: Rudkin, Pringle, Gwynne