Red and Greens aim for glory at Bedford: Market Rasen and Louth
THE Red and Greens head to Bedford Athletic on Saturday hoping to improve on their display at Towcestrians last time out.
Rasen paid the price for another slow start at the weekend as their opponents made light of playing uphill into the stiff breeze in the first half – eventually winning the Midlands 1 East clash 36-12.
Visiting Rasen were a little unlucky when an early advantage for a Towcestrians knock-on ended prematurely before the gain line was crossed with the referee awarding a penalty to the hosts.
The hosts worked their way up field and, from an attacking scrum, number eight Liam Wilkinson picked up and drove over to open the scoring in the second minute.
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A spilled pass in midfield was then latched onto by Towcestrians, who rapidly turned defence into attack – with good hands putting full-back Matt Yuill in under the uprights and giving Dave Stocks a pretty simple conversion.
Another penalty returned Rasen to a similar position, but this time there was no mistake as prop Chris Starling was driven over from a catch and drive.
A minor 'disagreement' between skipper Dave Starling and opposite number Wilkinson earned them both a yellow card before the conversion could be attempted.
A missed penalty from Stocks was closely followed by another Towcestrians attack as lock Sam Sturley thundered through some ineffective tackling to cross the whitewash.
That gave Stocks a much easier kicking opportunity, which he gratefully accepted.
Another quick tap penalty from lively scrum-half Gus Hopewell initiated a further thrust from the hosts ending with centre Chrissie George barging his way over the line.
Peter Everton was knocked unconscious in the process and eventually left the field to join fellow injured team-mate George Edell on the touchline before Stocks' conversion fell short.
Rasen ended the half strongly and kept the Towcestrians line under siege before the referee tired of the hosts' persistent infringements and awarded a penalty try.
That was converted by fly-half Matt Sutton to end the half with his side 24-12 in arrears.
The Red and Greens made a bright start to the second period and opted for a dubious chip and chase policy into the strong wind.
However, after two kicks and kind bounces, winger Nick Harvey finished off what looked to have been a dream start, but the referee ruled for an earlier knock-on and Rasen were denied the score.
With the wind at their backs, Towcestrians pumped the ball down field and Rasen were put back on the defensive.
A further Rasen indiscretion resulted in a quick tap propelling the ball to the opposite side of the field.
Facing a two on two situation, Yuill opted to go it alone, taking advantage of a lack of communication between the two Rasen defenders to cross the line almost untouched.
Stocks added the conversion and it looked like another lost cause for Rasen.
However, the visitors monopolised possession for the next 20 minutes, forcing Towcestrians to fight a rearguard action.
That was exacerbated by the departure of fly-half Charlie Barker for a ten-minute yellow card break.
Rasen couldn't unpick the tight home defence despite trying everything possible and, as the gloom descended, Towcestrians broke the shackles and went back on the offensive.
Wilkinson drove over from close range, but the referee adjudged that he had been held up.
With Rasen holding the five-metre scrum, Mike Starling sensed that the ball was out.
He picked it up, only to look in disbelief as the referee ruled he had been over eager and awarded Towcestrians a penalty.
Hopewell, alert to the position, took his umpteenth quick tap of the day and sniped over for the final score of an exciting match.