Report: "The Tache"
Photos: Jon Staves
SSE Midlands 1 East
Newark 1st XV 18 - 24 Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV
In a complete role reversal from the corresponding home fixture, it was Rasen who were in control for much of the game before facing a determined onslaught from Newark in the final quarter. Newark kicked off in near perfect conditions and were soon on the attack, but the red and greens dispelled these initial forays and took the initiative themselves. A neat break from centre Adam Beasley forced Newark back into their own twenty two before the forwards recycled the ball and took play to the left. Right winger Nick Harvey burst into the line and cut back inside to open the scoring in the sixth minute. Fullback Matt Sutton added the conversion to complete an impeccable start for the visitors. The red and greens mounted another period of sustained pressure straight from the restart as the backs and forwards combined to take play ever closer to the Newark line. As the ball was popped up nothing was going to stop the colossus that is prop Ollie Cole from charging over from short range much to the approval of the small, but vocal pocket of Rasen supporters in the packed stand. Newark recovered from this early barrage and came back into the game with a penalty from fly half Matt Cox in the eighteenth minute and then began their own campaign of attacks. Cox missed another penalty before Newark opened up the Rasen defence to create a small overlap for winger Johnny Statham. Sutton managed to snuff out the danger with a last ditch tackle, but Newark maintained their momentum and eventually the red and greens succumbed to give Cox another penalty chance. The fly half struck the ball well, but as it moved across the face of the posts he was mightily relieved as it curled inwards to shave the inside of the upright on its way over the crossbar. The pendulum swung back in Rasen’s favour as the red and greens attacked from a lineout midway between halfway and the Newark twenty-two. Prop Chris Starling charged forward relishing another run in open play, where he has distinguished himself in recent weeks, and was unlucky when his pass failed to find supporting brother Dave at full tilt. However Newark had prevented this by nefarious means and Rasen were awarded a penalty, which was kicked to touch. The catch and drive worked to perfection and fittingly it was Chris Starling who completed the score. The half closed with Rasen holding a 17 – 6 lead as Newark disappeared into the changing rooms whilst the red and greens remained outside to reflect on a good first half.
Rasen began the second period on the front foot as Harvey was illegally impeded by fullback Mark Byrom as he chased a kick through in the second minute. The Newark man was dispatched to the touchline with a yellow card for a ten minute break as Rasen looked to take advantage of the extra man. The penalty lineout provided the launch pad as Rasen secured possession and moved through several phases before Harvey cut through again and managed to reach the line despite the attention of a Newark tackler. Sutton’s surefooted conversion gave Rasen an eighteen point cushion with eight minutes remaining on the sin binning, but unfortunately the red and greens couldn’t add to the scoreline before Newark were returned to their full compliment. With sixteen minutes gone Harvey was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball on and the referee brandished another yellow card leaving Rasen to cope a man down. Newark seized their chance and were soon within smelling range of the Rasen line, but staunch defending and white line fever from the home forwards temporarily kept them at bay. With a cacophony of support coming from the stand Newark remained camped on the Rasen line until scrumhalf Matt Clark spied a chink to force his way over. This score revitalised the home side who upped the tempo of their game and tore straight back downfield from the restart. Newark continued to batter away through the forwards and neglected the numerical superiority in the backline until at last the ball was moved wide for skipper and winger Chris Tate to cross for a try. Cox added the conversion to bring Newark to within six points with sixteen minutes left to play including two remaining on Harvey’s sin binning. For the remainder of the game Rasen were unable to escape from their own half and with a rising penalty count the home crowd could sense a dramatic comeback was a distinct possibility. What the crowd hadn’t bargained for was the ever increasing resolve of the men in red and green where their grit, determination and sheer bloody mindedness kept Newark out to record a hard fought victory.
Yellow cards played a large part in this game. On the plus side Rasen scored what ultimately turned out to be the decisive score whilst Newark were undermanned, but conceded twelve points during their own depletion. For the second week running the penalty count escalated and this does need addressing, but thankfully the boys held on for a magnificent win. Once again the collective will and spirit of this squad was on full display and they should be commended for their attitude.
Rasen: Starling C, Alldridge, Cole, Mills, Crowe, Dearden L, Starling D, Chamberlin, Noquet, Goodison, Robinson, Beasley, Dearden A, Harvey, Sutton
Subs (all used): Ashton, Everton P, Mawer
Newark: Dunning, Tomlinson, Priestley, Primett, Evans, Tatham, Coen, Price, Clark, Cox, Statham, Collishaw, Bradley, Tate, Byrom
Subs: Gray, Clark, Edlin
Next week it’s another re-arranged fixture with a trip to Loughborough. Although the Leicestershire side look doomed for relegation, they did win at Rasen (courtesy of Mr Dixon?) and nothing should be taken for granted in this league.