RUGBY: Market Rasen go fifth after battle with Paviors

Dan Robinson heads towards the line for Market Rasen
Dan Robinson heads towards the line for Market Rasen

Rasen returned to action a week after the scheduled game with Paviors had had to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

The red and greens again found themselves battling the elements as well as their Nottinghamshire opponents.

Paviors had first use of a stiff breeze that was blowing almost end to end, but opted to keep the ball in hand as much as possible rather than utilise the wind advantage to play a kicking game. However it was a well placed kick from scrumhalf Tom Slinger that caused some consternation in the Rasen ranks as the ball landed and skidded over the wet surface. Winger Jonty Green hacked the ball on, but fumbled it forward in his attempted pick up with the line at his mercy, much to the relief of the red and greens.

After this early scare Rasen opened the scoring with one of their finest crafted tries of the season. Chris Everton, playing out of position at fly half, held the defence with a delayed pass that put fullback Dan Robinson into space. The youngster’s incursion into the line at pace split the Paviors’ defence before he linked with centre Adam Beasley who in turn moved the ball to Nick Harvey arriving at full tilt to splash down under the posts in the wettest area of the ground. Robinson added the conversion as this heralded the start of a period of sustained pressure from the home side as they laid siege to the Paviors line.

Chances went begging as Rasen lacked patience and tried to force the game, but a yellow card for visiting centre Ed Collishaw gave Rasen a further advantage.

Opting for a scrum from the penalty Rasen secured possession and drove on through the forwards before releasing the ball to the backs. The backline lacked penetration and the ball was moving sideways until Beasley arced his run and forced his way over in the corner.

Paviors reacted positively and soon had Rasen back deep in their own half before the sides were evened up with the temporary dismissal of home skipper Dave Starling.

With the half drawing to a close Rasen conceded a flurry of penalties close to their line and hooker Tom Alldridge received a yellow card.

In an almost interminable ending to the half Paviors continued the pressure and eventually drove hooker Callum Mason over the line. Flyhalf Danny Yeow closed the half with the conversion that left Rasen with a 12–7 lead.

The second half was a dour affair as the effects of the stamina sapping mud and strong breeze inevitably took their toll.

Paviors made the early running as was to be expected against a 13 man opposition, but Rasen held firm and it was an eighth minute penalty from Robinson that soared between the uprights to stretch the red and green lead.

Both sides had their moments, but it wasn’t until the 24th minute that either line was really threatened. On the edge of the Paviors twenty two a fumbled knock on from scrumhalf Mike Starling went undetected and as play continued number eight Leigh Dearden arrived at pace to crash over the line and put Rasen out of sight.

Robinson slotted the simple conversion and the game then petered out, but not before the referee issued his fourth yellow card of the afternoon to Rasen lock Dan Carson, who left the field totally bemused at the absence of any apparent wrong doing.

A workmanlike performance in demanding conditions won the day and in truth Rasen never looked like losing this game. The penalty problem arose again and a lack of patience in critical scoring areas took a little shine off the display, but the opening try was of the highest quality and a joy to behold.

Once again, first choice absentees were covered admirably by those stepping in and the team spirit continues to remain intact, as well as the home record that makes Willingham Road a difficult place to come to get a result.

Next week Rasen travel to basement club Peterborough, but with no easy games in this league the side need to approach this with the correct mental attitude to avoid an unwanted upset.

Teams: Rasen: Ashton, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Carson, Pryer, Starling D, Dearden L, Starling M, Everton C, Norton F, Eddell, Beasley, Harvey, Robinson. Subs: Gregory (Harvey), Pytlik (Cole), Hutchinson (Norton).

Paviors: Allen, Mason C, Mason R, Pike, Eggleshaw, Morris, Johnson, Barrett, Slinger, Yeow, Ratcliffe, Collishaw, Billam, Green, Allett

Subs: Peck, Bennett, Snelling