Red and Greens secure first win ahead of Spalding clash
MARKET Rasen & Louth head to Lincolnshire rivals Spalding this weekend in high spirits after their first win of the new campaign.
A 26-14 victory over Kettering kickstarted the Red and Greens' Midlands 1 East season – and winless Spalding are next in their sights.
On Saturday, it was Kettering who displayed their attacking intent first, crossing the home line after only two minutes, but an earlier infringement saw the score ruled out.
The hosts responded quickly and, from a scrum on the edge of the Kettering 22, the ball was switched onto the blind side.
Fly-half Meehal Grint put winger Peter Everton away with one defender to beat, which he did with ease – his immaculate side-step leaving the defender rooted to the spot.
Grint nailed the conversion from wide out to extend the lead.
Three minutes later the visitors suffered another set-back with centre Joe Newman yellow carded and banished to the touchline for ten minutes.
Rasen took full advantage and prop Chris Starling touched down after a perfectly worked catch and drive routine.
Grint added the conversion, but then turned from hero to villain with a telegraphed pass which was intercepted by Kettering's flying substitute Louis Hackett for a free run to the line.
Scrum-half Joe Daniels slotted the conversion to bring his side back into the game.
This score lifted the visitors' spirits and they kept Rasen pinned in their own half, but – despite number eight Leigh Dearden earning a yellow card – Rasen held out until the break.
Kettering's resurgence continued at the beginning of the second period as they earned an early penalty, but Daniels' kick fell short.
Just as in the first half, this early scare prompted Rasen into attack and skipper Dave Starling dived over the line after a charging run from Ollie Cole to extend the lead.
Grint slotted the simple conversion to give Rasen a two-score cushion.
The Red and Greens added another try and a bonus point shortly after, as Cole crossed the whitewash after excellent work by Nick Harvey, making his first appearance of the season as a sub.
Kettering were down, but not out and they kept battling for a score.
Dave Starling picked up a yellow card as the pressure intensified before Kettering's forwards rumbled over for a try as due reward for their endeavour.
Daniels added the conversion, but Kettering couldn't close the deficit any further and with their skipper back on the field Rasen saw out the game as the forwards retained possession to count down the clock.