Battling Grimsby RUFC show heart against promotion chasers
A DEPLETED Grimsby RUFC side battled hard but were well beaten at high-flying Kesteven.
The Blues, forced to field numerous second-string players, lost 41-3 to the Midlands 3 East (North) promotion chasers.
After falling to a second successive defeat on the road, Grimsby will hope they can overturn third-placed Melbourne at Springfield Road on Saturday.
But the players that filled the void for Grimsby last weekend impressed against the Grantham-based side, and staked a claim for selection.
Two young Kesteven centres, perhaps destined for greater things such was their ability, were irrepressible against the Blues.
The hosts' midfield display left Grimsby gasping for air at times as Kesteven's outside centre ran in five tries.
But the Springfield Road lads never gave up and made Kesteven work hard for every point.
The Blues' three points came from the boot of Brad Watson, pictured. He converted a penalty awarded when winger Phil Dann was tackled off the ball chasing his own clever chip and run.
Grimsby asked questions of Kesteven in and around the forward pack – veteran Neil Corry, playing out of position at lock, and Ben Pharaoh, at scrum-half, caused them problems in the ruck.
Hooker Matthew Pettiford had another strong game for Grimsby, as did Justyn Hill on his return from injury.
Despite the final score, the match was in the balance during the first half. But it was quality finishing from the Kesteven backs that proved the difference.
Props Colin Matthews and Jason Stead, along with lock Jim Livermore, were brave in defence for the Blues, encouraging their team-mates to show heart.
The hosts were impressed by Grimsby's attitude until the final whistle – when time was up, the Blues chose to keep the ball in play, rather than kicking out, and launch one final attack. Unfortunately, that allowed Kesteven's in-form centre to have the final say. He intercepted a pass and ran in the hosts' final try, which was converted.
After their tough home clash against Melbourne on Saturday, Grimsby will travel to derby rivals Lincoln, who are bottom of the table.