Market Bosworth 1st XV 29 Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 19
RASEN’S previous visit to Market Bosworth had been a dour 3–0 defeat in miserable conditions two seasons ago, but this encounter was the antithesis, with some quality rugby played in near perfect conditions, although most of it came from the home team.
The confident Bosworth side put the red and greens to the sword in the first quarter with too many Rasen players being guilty of ‘startled rabbit in the headlights’ syndrome, as the home side bombarded them with their various attacking configurations.
In the third minute Rasen fell victim to their own speciality as number eight Iain Fraser was driven over the line following a lineout catch and drive.
Five minutes later Bosworth used another lineout to good effect with quick off the top ball fired out into midfield, where centre Lee Dyment exploited a Rasen defence masquerading as the crew of the Marie Celeste to sprint over the whitewash.
The visitors were clearly rattled and even suffered the ignominy of losing a set scrum on their own put in before sustaining another setback with hooker Matt Ashton yellow carded for a 10–minute break.
Rasen couldn’t get their game functioning as a promising attack faltered with a poor pass allowing Bosworth to counter attack.
An incisive run from Chris Blair coming into the line from fullback pulled in the Rasen defence and his perfectly timed pass put flying winger Harry Yorke in at the corner.
Sadly this was Blair’s last contribution to the game as he was laid out by the tackle, resulting in an extended break in proceedings before fly half Chris Harding landed his first successful kick of the day.
With time still running on the sin binning, Bosworth continued to unleash their dangerous backline to give the decisive running and pace of centre Joe Ackroyd the opportunity to heap further woes on the visitors with a fourth try to secure a bonus point after only 23 minutes.
Two minutes later Rasen were thrown an unexpected lifeline when a dangerous tackle from Fraser earned him a red card and left Bosworth with only 14 men for the remainder of the game.
However lack of composure continued to hamper the red and greens when a drive to the line ended in a penalty for going off the feet, allowing Bosworth to clear their lines.
Eventually Rasen got on the scoreboard when a quick tap penalty and dash from scrumhalf Mike Starling found brother Dave on his shoulder to crash over.
Despite their numerical deficiency Bosworth had no intentions of sitting back on their lead and further pressure allowed Harding to throw a cheeky dummy to wrong foot the defence and glide in under the posts. His simple conversion gave his side a comfortable and deserved 29–5 half time lead.
The red and green malaise continued at the restart as Bosworth flanker Tom Hanford gathered the ball and ran almost unopposed to the Rasen twenty two, before a brave tackle from fullback Karl Ward stopped his assault.
Bosworth were unable to take advantage of the field position and play meandered back up field. A poorly tapped ball from a home lineout was latched onto by lock Ben Chamberlin, his strong running putting the Bosworth defence in disarray as he powered his way to the line to open the second half scoring. Centre Meehal Grint landed the conversion to narrow the deficit and with 34–minutes left.
The lead wasn’t insurmountable in the circumstances. A long kick and chase forced Bosworth to minor for a five metre scrum, but a lack of control from Rasen at the base allowed the opposition to disrupt the scrum and snuff out the danger.
Another kick through almost created a try, but a cruel bounce saw the ball agonisingly elude the grasp of winger Nick Harvey with the line in sight.
Bosworth were now on the back foot, although they continued to make forays into Rasen territory and had a chance to extend their lead with a penalty, but Harding’s kick fell short and wide of the mark.
Another quick tap from Mike Starling precipitated a forward drive as Ashton barrelled over to make amends for his first half misdemeanour. Grint added the conversion to bring Rasen within two scores in the 17 minutes remaining.
Rasen continued with honest endeavour, but couldn’t find any fluency as well as continuing to make unforced errors. With eight minutes remaining Rasen were awarded an eminently kickable penalty, but despite the scoreboard clearly visible displaying the 29–19 scoreline, the opportunity of three points to bring the deficit to within seven points and a losing bonus point, it was dismissed for a kick to touch.
The attack came to nought, but there was still more drama as Bosworth prop Gareth Bromby picked up a yellow card, leaving his side to defend with only 13 men for the last five minutes.
Try as they might Rasen couldn’t prise open the determined home defence in the final throes of the game and Bosworth held on to deny their visitors any league points.
This should serve as a wake–up call as an opposition team has finally exposed some frailties. There were no let offs for the yellow card this week and the ineffective midfield defence was mercilessly exploited.
This was generally a poor performance with a lack of composure and precision throughout the team, but credit must also be given to Market Bosworth who played enterprising rugby when at full strength and marshalled their troops well after the sending off.
However one must still question the inability to exploit a side down to 14 men for almost three quarters of the game.
This weekend win–less Loughborough are the visitors to Willingham Road.
Rasen: Starling C, Ashton, Cole, Inman, Chamberlin, Routledge, Starling D, Dearden L, Starling M, John, Everton P, Grint, Edell, Harvey, Ward
Subs: Bullivant, Green, Young (all used)
Bosworth: Murray, McWhirter, Bromby, Tales, Charman, Hanford, Devlin, Fraser, Goodman, Harding, Comley, Dyment, Ackroyd, Yorke, Blair
Subs: Norris, Roberts, Summers (all used)