RUGBY: Record breaking Market Rasen victory ends Matlock curse

Meehal Grint dives for the line
Meehal Grint dives for the line

Rasen had not beaten Matlock in any of their previous league encounters, but recorded their highest score in a Midlands 1 East game.

Matlock made the early running with their direct style and earned themselves two penalties in quick succession, but fly half Chris Young was unable to land the goals before Rasen forced their way into the visitors twenty two.

The forwards took a lineout and drove on, recycling the ball for reinvigorated prop Ollie Cole to charge over the line for the opening score. Centre Meehal Grint took on the kicking duties and slotted the tricky conversion.

Rasen maintained the pressure keeping Matlock pinned in their own half with an awesome exhibition of
 ball retention and offloading play.

Young debutant number eight Henry Spencer took the ball down the blindside, drew the defender and put winger George Eddell in for Rasen’s second try, duly converted by Grint.

Spencer was soon back in action picking up from the base of a five metre scrum that Rasen had taken against the head. Matlock managed to hold him up over the line, but the youth lead the charge again from the resultant scrum and as the drive was halted, Grint arrived screaming for the ball to smash his way over the whitewash.

With an abundance of possession it was only a matter of time before Rasen added to their tally. A chip into space from flyhalf Matt Sutton was latched onto by lock Leigh Dearden who surged forward until desperate Matlock defence halted the move, but at the cost of a yellow card for Young.

The visitors managed to scramble the ball away, but the poor clearance kick was run back as the confidence oozed out of every red and green pore. Cole back to his rampaging rhino best powered through the opposition to secure the try bonus with Rasen’s fourth try.

There was no let up as Matlock fluffed the restart kick and Rasen opted for the scrum centre field.

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As the ball was moved wide Dan Robinson joined the line from fullback to inject further pace with a touchline hugging run with only one defender left between him and glory. Astutely the youngster looked inside to the supporting Sutton who glided over for a fifth Rasen try. Grint added the conversion to maintain his perfect kicking record for the afternoon.

Despite the huge deficit Matlock kept their belief and centre Ben Neville breezed past some ineffectual tackling with ease to end the half with a try and leave his side 35– 5 adrift at the interval.

Matlock began the climb up their metaphorical mountain with great aplomb when the second half began. The wily Young was narrowly beaten to a touchdown following his own chip and chase, but moments later his vision and pinpoint cross field kick found Henri Packard steaming up from fullback to double the visitors’ score.

After this early pressure Rasen regained their composure with Edell put away on the wing, but as the line drew tantalisingly close the defence cut him off and his attempted inside pass went forward. This was only a minor setback with the dominant Rasen eight taking the scrum against the head for the impressive Spencer to further enhance his outstanding display with a powerful pick and drive over the line.

In a strange piece of déjà vu Edell was scorching down the wing again when his inside pass was knocked on by Packard’s attempted interception, but the referee ruled that it was deliberate and gave the Matlock man a ten minute rest in the sin bin.

The penalty was kicked to touch with the home supporters expecting a killer catch and drive, but after securing the lineout the forwards executed a perfect peel and Cole rampaged over to complete his hat trick.

Edell was rapidly becoming a magnet for the ball as he superbly gathered a poor Matlock twenty-two drop out and fed Grint on his inside. The centre surged forward, but narrowly missed out on his second try as he was bundled into touch in the corner. Rasen won the lineout, then, going through the phases, took the ball infield to release the backs before skipper Dave Starling was on hand to finish another productive passage of play.

From the kick off Spencer took play forward with a mixture of guile and power before a sweeping move was finished by winger Nick Harvey who was given acres of space to run around the outstretched Matlock defence to dot down under the posts. Grint added the simple conversion to double his second half tally.

It was now one way traffic as first Robinson flew in at the corner, magnificently converted by Grint, and finally Harvey completed the rout with his second try of the match.

The team picked themselves up from last week’s defeat and regrouped to play some outstanding rugby. The ability to keep the ball alive was prevalent and the willingness to mix the game up between driving forward play and a more expansive style to bring in the pace of the back three bodes well for the future.

The team are back on the road again next week with the short trip to Newark, who have had the perfect start to the season with three wins out of three.


Rasen: Starling C, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Dearden L, Chamberlin, Starling D, Spencer, Starling M, Sutton, Eddell, Grint, Beasley, Harvey, Robinson. Subs: Crowe (Mills), Gregory (Starling M), Pryer (not used)

Matlock: Statham, Boam, Richardson, Twyford, Robinson, Jackson, Wagg, Cooper, Morton P, Young, Howard, Neville, Coombes, Hooton, Packard. Subs: Littlewood, Bunting, Morton H