Newark 1st XV 27-17 Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV
After last week’s thumping win over Matlock, the red and greens were under no illusions that it would be a different prospect at Newark, with the Nottinghamshire club making an unbeaten start to their season.
Rasen stunned the home crowd by opening the scoring after only 34 seconds as wave after wave of red and green drives pushed Newark inexorably closer to their line.
Number eight Ben Chamberlin broke clear in the home twenty two to run in without Newark laying a hand on the ball. Centre Meehal Grint added the conversion to give Rasen a dream start.
Newark reacted positively with some strong running from centre Aloesi Waqalevu forcing Rasen deep into their own territory.
Having soaked up the pressure Rasen went back on the offensive and gained field position before receiving an unexpected bonus courtesy of the loose tongue of Newark’s hooker Ian Tomlinson. The referee was unimpressed with the forward and dismissed him for a break in the sin bin.
Rasen were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority though and the sides were evened up at the next Newark attack as fly half Matt Sutton was caught with his hands in a ruck and he too dejectedly trudged off for a ten minute break.
From a scrum deep in Rasen’s half the ball was taken up by the centres and as the Rasen defence was sucked in, Newark created an overlap for winger Ben Dixon to score in the corner. Offer nailed a superb touchline conversion to bring the sides level.
With Newark restored to full strength Rasen took an unexpected lead when Grint intercepted a poor pass and just managed to evade the chasing defenders who were gaining with every step. Grint’s conversion gave Rasen a seven point cushion, but Newark were back on terms within three minutes as Dixon stepped inside the defence and sprinted to the line.
Rasen continued to attack through the forwards as once again they pushed Newark backwards, but turnover ball gave Newark one last opportunity to counter attack. Burly centre Matt Cox was half stopped as he went for a gap, but the elusive Waqalevu was on hand to continue the attack before releasing Dixon to complete his hat trick. Offer slotted the conversion to give Newark a 21–14 lead on the stroke of half time.
Newark made the early running in the second period, but Rasen counter attacked effectively with young fullback Dan Robinson making his presence felt with some fine running out of defence. The red and green enterprise eventually bore fruit as Newark conceded a penalty and Grint narrowed the lead with a well struck kick.
As the half drew on Newark’s fitness began to tell and Rasen were forced to spend long periods in their own territory as Newark controlled the ball.
Newark continued to maintain their pressure, but a combination of dogged Rasen defence and poor Newark decision making left them with only one further Offer penalty to show for their territorial superiority before winger Nick Harvey was yellow carded for hands in a ruck.
Despite this setback Rasen continued to keep Newark at bay as the home side became increasingly frustrated at their inability to secure the fourth try for a bonus point.
Rasen finally broke the siege and with three minutes left were awarded a penalty just outside the Newark twenty-two. A successful kick would have brought Rasen within seven points and the opportunity of a losing bonus point, but inexplicably despite the exhortations of club captain Dave Starling from the touchline his brother Chris opted for a touch kick.
Newark managed to stifle the attack and although the final throes of the game were played out in the Newark twenty two, Rasen were unable to add to their tally and went home with no league points.
After a dramatic start Rasen couldn’t maintain the momentum and Newark’s superior fitness told as the red and greens appeared lethargic at times by comparison.
This week the red and greens return home for a 3pm kick off, but it doesn’t get any easier with the visit of Old Northamptonians, currently lying second in the league and yet to taste defeat.
Rasen: Starling C, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Crowe, Pryer, Dearden L, Chamberlin, Starling M, Sutton, Stephens, Grint, Eddell, Harvey, Robinson
Subs: Ashton (Cole), Inman (Crowe), Lawton (Stephens)
Newark: Tinsley, Tomlinson, Gray, Tatham, Primett, Webster, Cove, Clark N, Clark M, Offer, Dixon, Cox, Waqalevu, Galinski, Tate
Subs: Sheils, Dunning, Statham