Newark 18-24 Market Rasen and Louth
In a reversal from the teams last meeting, it was Rasen who were in control of this game before facing an onslaught from Newark in the final quarter.
Newark kicked off and were soon on the attack, but the red and greens dispelled these initial forays and took the initiative themselves. A neat break from centre Adam Beasley forced Newark back into their own twenty two before the forwards recycled the ball and took play to the left.
Right winger Nick Harvey burst into the line and cut back inside to open the scoring in the sixth minute. Fullback Matt Sutton added the conversion to complete an impeccable start for the visitors.
The red and greens mounted another period of sustained pressure straight from the restart as the backs and forwards combined to take play ever closer to the Newark line. As the ball was popped up nothing was going to stop the colossus that is prop Ollie Cole from charging over from short range much to the approval of the small, but vocal pocket of Rasen supporters in the packed stand.
Newark recovered from this early barrage and came back into the game with a penalty from fly half Matt Cox in the 18th minute. Cox missed another penalty before Newark opened up the Rasen defence to create a small overlap for winger Johnny Statham.
Sutton managed to snuff out the danger with a last ditch tackle, but Newark maintained their momentum and eventually the red and greens succumbed to give Cox another three point penalty.
The pendulum swung back in Rasen’s favour when they were awarded a penalty, which was kicked to touch. The catch and drive worked to perfection and Chris Starling completed the score.
Rasen began the second period on the front foot as Harvey was illegally impeded by fullback Mark Byrom as he chased a kick through in the second minute. The Newark man was dispatched to the touchline with a yellow card for a 10 minute break as Rasen looked to take advantage of the extra man.
The penalty lineout provided the launch pad as Rasen secured possession and moved through several phases before Harvey cut through again and managed to reach the line. Sutton’s surefooted conversion gave Rasen an 18 point cushion.
With 16 minutes gone Harvey was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball on and the referee brandished another yellow card leaving Rasen to cope a man down.
With a cacophony of support coming from the home crowd, Newark remained camped on the Rasen line until scrumhalf Matt Clark spied a chink to force his way over.
This score revitalised the home side who upped the tempo of their game and tore straight back downfield from the restart. Newark continued to batter away through the forwards and neglected the numerical superiority in the backline until at last the ball was moved wide for skipper and winger Chris Tate to cross for a try. Cox added the conversion to bring Newark to within six points with 16 minutes left to play.
For the remainder of the game Rasen were unable to escape from their own half and with a rising penalty count the home crowd could sense a dramatic comeback was a distinct possibility. What the crowd hadn’t bargained for was the ever increasing resolve of the men in red and green where their grit and determination kept Newark out to record a hard fought victory.
For the second week running the penalty count escalated and this does need addressing, but once again the collective will and spirit of the squad was on full display.
This week it’s another re-arranged fixture with a trip to Loughborough. Although the Leicestershire side look doomed for relegation, they did win at Rasen and nothing should be taken for granted in this league.
Rasen: Starling C, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Crowe, Dearden L, Starling D, Chamberlin, Noquet, Goodison, Robinson, Beasley, Dearden A, Harvey, Sutton
Subs (all used): Ashton, Everton P, Mawer
Newark: Dunning, Tomlinson, Priestley, Primett, Evans, Tatham, Coen, Price, Clark, Cox, Statham, Collishaw, Bradley, Tate, Byrom
Subs: Gray, Clark, Edlin