Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV 94 Ilkeston 1st XV 21
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On a breezy Easter Saturday afternoon, the red and greens took to the field full of confidence after last week’s dazzling display against Leighton Buzzard. Their opponents Ilkeston have had a wretched season, arriving with no substitutes and a side packed with colts’ players the game soon developed into one of men against boys with the inevitable conclusion. Rasen laid down a marker after only two minutes when skipper Chris Starling, operating at blindside flanker, peeled off from a lineout to pop the ball to scrumhalf Chris Everton for the opening score, converted by Dan Robinson. A powerful run from prop Pete Southwell opened up the defence before play was switched to the opposite side of the field for number eight Ben Chamberlin to gambol in at the corner like a spring lamb. Seven minutes later Spencer Holvey was put into space on the wing and as his run was halted close to the line, Chamberlin was on hand to wrestle the ball free and force his way over to double his tally. Ilkeston were struggling to stem the red and green tide as Rasen maintained their monopoly on possession. A long cut out pass from Robinson put Josh White away for the centre to secure the try bonus point with a score in the corner in the twenty second minute. The Rasen forwards and backs were combining seamlessly and it was a strong run from Will Inman that paved the way for the next score. As Ilkeston funnelled back to halt the locks progress, he linked with Adam Goodwin joining the line from fullback before he in turn put Holvey away for a clear run in to finish a classic winger’s try. Robinson was pulling the strings from fly half when his delicate chip found space behind the Ilkeston defence. Winger Tom Stephen’s latched onto it with an efficient pick up to put Goodwin in for another Rasen score. With time and space Robinson rounded off a solid first half performance with a clean break to score under the posts to leave himself with an easy conversion to put Rasen into an emphatic 41 – 0 lead at the half way mark.
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The second half began just as the first had ended with Rasen dominance and within four minutes Goodwin effectively joined the line again from fullback to score after a long run for the line. Robinson added the conversion, but after being under the cosh for so long, it was Ilkeston who dug deep and forced Rasen into their first real period of defensive duty. The visitors’ persistence paid off and hooker Kirk Woodison barrelled his way over the line for a try converted by Harry Walton. Goodwin’s pace and magic feet knocked Ilkeston’s mini revival backwards as he picked his way to the line for another score. Five minutes later Chamberlin was given an unscheduled break as he received a ten-minute rest on the touchline with a yellow card, but it made little difference to Rasen’s supremacy as the red and green’s broke out for Stephens to get his name on the scoresheet for a try converted by Robinson. Another temporary lapse in concentration gave the bedraggled Ilkeston side a lift as they forced Rasen back and scored in similar fashion to their first effort with number eight Aidan Norris going over for Walton to convert. Rasen responded almost immediately with Robinson’s vision taking play to the blindside where his perfectly executed chip bounced up into the arms of Stephens without the winger breaking stride as he flew to the line. Robinson converted, but there was a hint of deja-vu as Ilkeston reacted positively to mount another attack on the Rasen line that ended with centre Tom Pottinger scoring, again converted by Walton and giving the visitors the unlikely dream of snatching a bonus point if they could score another try. That fanciful dream was shattered as Rasen ended the game with a scoring frenzy of five tries in five minutes. Superb handling by the backs, which included a sublime single movement pass from substitute Paul Gutteridge, put Holvey away down the wing for his second score. Silky running from Gutteridge opened his account as he glided clear of the defence, quickly followed by a neatly taken drop kick conversion of his own try to save time. Robinson’s chip and chase ended with the fly half grabbing another try before an interception was quickly moved to Gutteridge whose fresh legs were too much for the floundering Ilkeston side who were desperate for the final whistle. Their agony was not saved as Rasen pressed deep into Ilkeston’s twenty-two and following a quick tap penalty Southwell powered his way over the line for one final score.
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This was a classic men against boys contest, but a side can only play what is put in front of them and apart from three blemishes, Rasen were ruthless and clinical particularly in the final five minutes. This is a measure of how the side have progressed and Head Coach Ruari Pike commented that in previous seasons Rasen would have still won the game in similar circumstances, but the margin would have been less due to the inferior mentality of yesteryear. This is something that the watching spies from Lincoln should fear if Rasen can overcome Scunthorpe in the county cup semi-final to set up a showdown with their local rivals in the final. A great result to end the home fixtures and confirm the club’s status as a Midlands 1 side for next season.
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Teams
Rasen: Southwell, Alldridge, Haig, Crowe, Inman, Starling C, Grant, Chamberlin, Everton C, Robinson, Stephens, Dearden A, White, Holvey, Goodwin
Subs: Grey (Starling C), Roberts (Crowe), Gutteridge (Dearden A)
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Ilkeston: Pringle, Woodison, Falls, Lebeter, Hudson, Waelday, Humphreys, Norris, Walton, Taylor, Wright, Pottinger, Jackson, Talbot, Peacock
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Next week the red and greens round off the league season with a trip to Lutterworth for a 3 pm kick off.