Market Rasen & Louth RUFC drive home victory against strugglers Spalding
A PATIENT approach produced a potent attacking force as resurgent Market Rasen & Louth RUFC conquered struggling Spalding 32-12 at home to notch up a hat-trick of consecutive league wins.
After losing 11 matches on the bounce in the Midlands 1 East, the Red and Greens have hit back in style.
Rasen will aim to make it four wins in a row on Saturday when they bid for revenge against Newark, who triumphed 22-15 at Willingham Road earlier this season.
Despite rediscovering their winning ways, Rasen have been guilty of unforced errors when trying to force the pace of games.
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But there was none of that last Saturday. Rasen showed discipline in defence to withstand Spalding pressure in the first quarter of the game, and were patient and strong on the attack.
A spate of penalties conceded towards the end of the game was the only blot on Rasen's copybook, but that didn't detract from an excellent victory.
It was third-time lucky for Rasen versus Spalding – the fixture had previously been postponed twice due to the weather.
Spalding, who are battling to avoid relegation, started well. An early break by skipper Harry Sharman was quickly followed by another dangerous attack that could have yielded a try – an overlap was wasted by a poor pass.
Rasen's first foray forward sprung from an excellent catch-cum-steal from skipper Dave Starling. From a resulting line-out, full-back Matt Sutton chipped over the defence but winger Peter Everton lost the race to the touchdown as the ball crossed the line.
Despite that chance, Spalding were on top – until an unfortunate clash of heads led to talismanic skipper Sharman, who collided with his team's scrum-half, being withdrawn in the 19th minute.
Apart from a penalty attempt by Spalding fly-half Rhys Thompson, the momentum swung Rasen's way for the rest of the half.
Sutton kicked between the posts to give Rasen the lead after Spalding compounded the concession of a penalty by being ordered back an extra ten metres for dissent.
Rasen's forwards took control and, after a sequence of driving play, the ball was spun out to Sutton who raced in to score in the corner. He added the touchline conversion.
Prop Chris Starling's charging run and pop pass then teed up flanker Leigh Dearden to score as Rasen opened up a 15-0 lead by half-time.
Rasen's excellent ball retention continued after the restart.
The hosts' forward pack shunted their Spalding rivals over their own line and Rasen number eight Dean Hutchinson pounced to touch down eight minutes into the second period.
Spalding pulled a try back through Thomson, who ghosted through a hole in the defence to dot under the posts before adding the conversion.
Rasen responded within four minutes.
Dave Starling powered through the Spalding defence and just grounded the ball with an outstretched arm. Sutton added the conversion.
Lock Ben Chamberlin ran in another Rasen try as Spalding began to tire.
But the visitors didn't give up and, with Rasen conceding a flurry of penalties, were rewarded for the effort when substitute Callum Thomson scored a consolation try.