RUGBY: Market Rasen go up a gear to cull the Badgers

Rasen captain Dave Starling scores to seal Bugbrooke's fate on Saturday EMN-150323-093810001
Rasen captain Dave Starling scores to seal Bugbrooke's fate on Saturday EMN-150323-093810001

Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 46-10 Bugbrooke 1st XV

After last week’s epic cup semi final the red and greens made a slow start, but turned it on in the second half to crush the Badgers of Bugbrooke with an outstanding display of running rugby.

Playing with the wind at their backs Bugbrooke stunned Rasen with a score after only two minutes when a delicate chip over the defence was latched onto by flying winger Adam Pepper for a try in the corner.

Rasen continued their soporific start as the Badgers continued to apply most of the pressure to keep Rasen deep in their own half, but as the half wore on Rasen began to find their stride as they entered the second quarter. Peter Everton was put away for a run on the wing before he was cut down by a heinous high tackle that went unpunished other than for a penalty award.

The Rasen eight were now building up a head of steam and from the resultant line out drove relentlessly for the opposition line until Chris Starling, like a demented mole, burrowed his way over the whitewash to restore parity. Fullback Meehal Grint opened his account with a well struck conversion and four minutes later was lining up his next shot following a Dave Starling try.

A solid set scrum in the Bugbrooke twenty two provided possession as Starling cut back across the advancing defence with an unstoppable run to power his way over the line. Grint nailed the conversion, but still Rasen weren’t heeding earlier lessons as another wayward kick into the wind gave Bugbrooke a further opportunity to counterattack.

Flyhalf Laurence Baxendale seemed to have over hit his kick forward as Grint scrambled back to recover it, but surrounded by advancing Badgers the ball broke loose. The visitors passing was far from crisp as the ball hit the ground, but was flapped on in midfield to escape a desperate red and green grasp setting up an overlap for winger Ben Atkin to fly in at the corner. The conversion was missed and Rasen ended the half with a 14–10 lead.

The second half began like the first with Bugbrooke making the early running, but a scintillating run from Dan Robinson ignited Rasen’s second half blitz.

The young fly half carved open the visitors defence before the Rasen momentum was stopped by unfair means and Grint eased the penalty between the uprights.

Peter Everton’s break set up another score as the ball was recycled and deft handling along the backline with perfect timing drew the defenders one by one to create an overlap for substitute wing Paul Gutteridge to glide in at the corner.

Robinson was still on fire when he launched another attack with his silky running slicing opening a beleaguered Bugbrooke defence before quick hands found Dave Starling to canter in for his second try ably converted by Grint.

Rasen had rarely reached this tempo in a hard season, but they were not about to let it drop as they continued to put Bugbrooke to the sword and three minutes later Dave Starling was completing his hat trick, imperiously charging in at the corner again courtesy of some slick handling.

Robinson’s running was proving to be a constant thorn in the side of Bugbrooke until flanker Ben Pattle’s high late tackle left the youngster prone on the floor. This was to be Pattle’s last involvement as his impetuosity earned him a second yellow card and banishment to the touchline.

Robinson recovered and as Rasen mounted another assault, he delivered an immaculate cross kick straight into the arms of the waiting Gutteridge, with no one barring his way to the line. Grint slotted the conversion to take Rasen over the 40 mark.

It was now almost one way traffic as the red and greens continued to run the Badgers ragged and the skipper wasn’t content with his personal haul. Starling’s dead leg from the first half was a distant memory as he rounded off another excellent passage of play with his fourth try wide out.

Rasen had long disappeared over the horizon in terms of the scoreboard, but the Badgers still looked for some consolation and pressed Rasen in the closing 10 minutes. However as one move petered out with a forward pass, centre Tom Davies’ petulant throw of the ball in disgust was adjudged to be dissent and the penalty against him summed up the visitors day where they had been blown apart by Rasen’s glorious second half performance.

The early signs had not been good as Rasen reverted to their slow start syndrome and having recovered they let Bugbrooke back into the game with a soft score before the interval.

The second half was a revelation with five tries in the space of 18 minutes, all of which were well crafted and executed at pace.

This was a critical game in terms of league position and Rasen rose magnificently to the occasion to leapfrog over Bugbrooke, who were equal on points before the match.

It is now important that the side maintain this momentum in the remaining three league games and advance to the NLD Cup final with confidence and total belief in their own abilities.

On Saturday Rasen travel to Derby, fresh from a big victory of their own, running out winners at Mansfield 50–5. Teams: Rasen: Starling C, Seward J, Southwell, Mills, Inman, Dearden L, Pryer, Chamberlin, Everton C, Robinson, Everton P, Dearden A, Starling D, Lawton, Grint. Subs: Gutteridge (Lawton), Pytlik (Inman), Routledge (Dearden L)

Bugbrooke: Judge, Gill, Dancer, Stockley, Smith, Prigmore, Pattle, Fewster, Wood, Baxendale, Pepper, Flynn, Davies, Atkin, Boyson. Subs: Lappin, Yates, Sellars