Peterborough arrived winless, but they gave as good as they got against a Rasen side that lurched from the inept to the sublime on Saturday.
Rasen conceded early penalties and twice had the ignominy of being marched back a further ten metres for unwarranted back chat.
Peterborough fullback Joe Anderson was unable to punish the hosts as his first penalty attempt fell short of the target before Rasen centre Meehal Grint made no mistake with his first effort to give Rasen a 3 –0 lead after 13 minutes.
However it wasn’t long before further indiscipline from the red and greens gave Anderson another shot at goal and this time he made no mistake to bring the sides level.
With a quarter of the game gone Rasen stepped up a gear to pin Peterborough deep in their own half as the visitors found it difficult to contain the driving Rasen pack without infringing.
Eventually the referee reached into his pocket and despatched visiting number eight Pete Kolakowski for a 10 minute break.
Rasen took full advantage of the ensuing penalty as the number one weapon in the red and green armoury was unleashed again to great effect, a finely executed catch and drive propelling prop Matt Ashton over the line for the first try of the game.
Rasen maintained the pressure and Peterborough capitulated again with a further penalty that resulted in the same punishment as a jubilant Ashton was driven over from another successful catch and drive.
Peterborough then found a renewed vigour and it was Rasen who were forced to defend close to their own line. After persistent offences, Dearden was given a team yellow as the home side fought a rearguard action to keep the line intact.
Peterborough’s spirits rose when centre G Offer sliced through a gap, but winger Chris Sandsby couldn’t hold the pass with the line at his mercy and the half ended with Rasen 15–3 ahead.
The red and greens made a disastrous start to the second half, opting to run from their own twenty two and spilling the ball in midfield. Peterborough reacted quickly to secure the loose ball and spin it wide for winger Matt Amos to scorch in at the corner with only a minute elapsed.
The old problem of previous weeks resurfaced as Rasen built an attacking position only to be repelled through their unwanted penchant for conceding penalties at vital moments.
But Rasen did extend their lead when substitute scrumhalf Chris Everton’s delayed pass fixed the defence for winger Dan Robinson to dart through a hole before linking up with Grint, who cantered in under the posts before converting his own try.
Rasen were back turning the screw and a hurried Peterborough clearance was gathered by fullback Peter Everton to launch a counter attack with his mesmeric feet taking him past several defenders. As play moved on the senior Everton joined the line again, but a dreadful pass from him failed to find winger Nick Harvey, who would have had a clear run in.
It was Harvey who sparked the next opportunity with a quick throw on the opposite wing, but Chris Everton was taken unawares by the quick thinking and fumbled the ball forward with no one between him and the line.
Following the two narrow escapes Peterborough went back on the offensive to heap pressure on Rasen in their own twenty two as the red and greens conceded a flurry of penalties in the face of concerted attacks from the visitors. Finally the home defence was sucked in and Sandsby made amends for his first half drop by sprinting around the outside to cross the whitewash.
Within three minutes Rasen had recovered and quick ball from a scrum, brought Harvey in off the blindside wing to split the visitors defence before handing on to flyhalf Matt Sutton for a run in under the posts. Grint added the conversion with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Peterborough may be at the foot of the table, but they weren’t about to give up as they put Rasen on the backfoot for the remainder of the game. A yellow card for Grint, adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball on whilst attempting an interception, with five minutes to go exacerbated Rasen’s task and with the final play of the game Sandsby sprinted over the line and ran behind the posts to give teammate Anderson an easy conversion.
This was a frustrating game with some excellent play exemplified by four well executed tries and strong defence at times, interspersed with woeful handling, discipline and judgement. Neverthe-ess the team won and collected a try bonus point.
This week it’s a trip into the unknown as the red and greens take on newly promoted Bugbrooke, who currently sit one place above Rasen in the league table, but suffered a surprise defeat at Mansfield this week.
The unavailability of several players and the travelling could pose a problem, but the indomitable Rasen spirit should not be underestimated and results elsewhere this season have shown nothing can be taken for granted.
Rasen: Ashton, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Inman, Chamberlin, Pryer, Dearden L, Starling M, Sutton, Robinson, Grint, Norton F, Harvey, Everton P. Subs: Crowe (Inman), Everton C (Starling M), Simpson (Ashton)
Peterborough: O’Connel, Stapleton, Burnham, Crookes, Cade, Barringer, Loades, Kolakowski, Warlow, Williams, Amos, Offer, Beale, Sandsby, Anderson. Subs: Peel, McClure, Cook