Persistent rain fell for much of Market Rasen and Louth RFC’s match at Loughborough which reflected much of the play – soggy and miserable.
After an evening and morning of continual rain, the first team pitch at Loughborough was waterlogged and the match was transferred to an outlying pitch where long grass made play difficult,
The game hinged on two periods when the Red and Greens inexplicably deemed tackling to be an optional extra, with several players being culpable for the dereliction of their defensive duties in a 15-0 defeat.
Rasen made a reasonable start, but handling was always going to be difficult with a wet ball, and after an early foray, the visitors found themselves on the edge of their own 22 facing a Loughborough put-in at the scrum.
Number eight Kieran Hewgill picked up from the base of the scrum and his arcing run evaded the little defence which Rasen could muster to open the scoring after seven minutes.
Thereafter followed a miscellany of dropped passes, poor kicks and loss of possession in contact as Rasen tried to play dry weather rugby in the wet.
There was little consolation that Loughborough weren’t faring much better with their direct approach, as full-back Tom Kirkby also missed a penalty in an insipid first half.
It eventually ended after 48 minutes, with Loughborough unable to capitalise on a series of scrums close to the Rasen line.
The pattern of the second half was similar to the first, with Rasen making a decent start and then the game descending into a contest which an insomniac would have found difficult to stay awake watching.
Rasen’s kicking game plumbed the depths of ineptitude as a number of poor kicks created more problems rather than relieving pressure.
Loughborough hit a purple patch, or in reality a more delicate shade of lilac as it wasn’t as dynamic as the phrase implies.
Kirkby missed another penalty before registering his first success two minutes later.
The final coup de grace was applied by Loughborough fly-half Callum Smith who had been largely ineffective throughout the game.
He chanced his arm to run at a Rasen defence which evaporated in front of him, handing him a clear run to the line from 30 metres out.
The referee’s dodgy watch again failed to record the correct duration of a half and he blew up after 37 minutes to put the players and spectators alike out of their misery.
In the sodden conditions it was always going to be difficult to play any sort of coherent rugby, but Rasen contrived to make things more arduous by their choice of tactics which were then exacerbated by poor execution.
The side are capable of playing with a much higher standard and there is little point dwelling on this poor performance.
It was just a bad day at the office which needs consigning to the depths of history.
There is a break from league action next weekend, but Rasen entertain Stamford at Willingham Road on Saturday in the Lincolnshire Cup with kick-off at the earlier time of 2pm.
Rasen: Crowe, Ashton, Southwell (Harvey), Chamberlin, Grant, Norton, Pryer, McKay, Everton, Starling, Pridgeon, McLoughlin,
Medd (Wallis), Berger, Stephens.
* Rasen’s Second XV made a short trip to take on Scunthorpe’s third team, but suffered their first loss of the season, going down 15–0.
Ironically, results favoured Rasen as they moved up the table to sit at the summit of the Yorkshire Eastern Merit League.