Captain Cole revels in Rasen trophy success
FOR most sportsmen, representing your country is the pinnacle of an individual's career – but not for Market Rasen & Louth RUFC captain Ollie Cole at present.
The proud Red and Greens skipper said that even donning the Three Lions shirt wouldn't top the delight of leading his team to Lincolnshire County Cup glory.
Rasen saw off a strong Scunthorpe side, who ply their trade in the league above, 22-13 to lift the trophy at Horncastle.
The Willingham Road outfit have now won the county competition three times in the last four years.
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And the victory was the perfect send-off for Rasen coaches Simon Green and Steve Kirkby, who have stepped down from their posts at the end of the season.
Cole said: "We weren't expecting to win as Scunthorpe are from a league above us and we knew they were going to put out a full-strength team.
"It came down to who wanted it more I think. But we have played off the back of our strong forwards this year, and the weather conditions proved a big leveller.
"I'm so proud of the lads. Everyone had a good game.
"It's a really good way to finish the season.
"It's the third time in four years we've won the competition as well.
"We had great support from the fans – they played a big part and were our 16th man.
"I wouldn't have swapped captaining the lads to victory with playing for England. I have won it as a player before but this was something else."
Scunthorpe saw their hooker sin-binned in the first half but they led 3-0 at half-time.
With the wind behind them after the break, Rasen drilled a penalty into touch. A trademark catch and drive followed and ended with powerhouse prop Chris Starling being driven over the line. Grint did well to add the conversion from a wide position.
After Grint had added a penalty, skipper Cole, back to his rampant best, received a pop ball and crashed over the line, and Grint added the conversion, as Rasen appeared to move out of sight.
But within six minutes, an Iron winger had touched down to reduce the deficit and Rasen were reduced to 14 men, with Dearden seeing yellow.
Grint received the ball on the blind side and dived over in the corner as Rasen responded.
Scunthorpe pulled a try back four minutes from time and mounted some strong pressure at the death, but Rasen defended with grit and tenacity to secure the silverware.