Sat 24 Mar 2018, 14:15
Rasen travelled to Northamptonshire for the second week in a row and, although the weather was positively balmy by comparison with last week’s Arctic blasts, the end result was still the same as the red and green’s lukewarm display ended with another heavy defeat. Rasen made a bold statement by keeping faith with the men who had battled so hard on the Kettering tundra, but unfortunately, they couldn’t reproduce the same level of intensity against a workmanlike Wellingborough side. Playing up hill in the first half, Rasen were soon under pressure and conceded a try in the fourth minute when Wellingborough opted for a scrum from a penalty and number eight Chris Shipman picked up from the base to power his way over the line. This set the tone as Wellingborough controlled the half, monopolising possession and limiting Rasen to a few brief forays into their hosts half. With Pete Vickers pulling the strings at fly half, Wellingborough took advantage of some slack defending coupled with a myriad of unforced errors to run in a further five tries through Shaun Mackie, Harry Bryan, Ricky Beetson and Kieran Checkley (2). The pick of the bunch being the final try of the half when Pete Vicker’s sublime crossfield kick was caught by Checkley at full tilt for the winger to dive over the whitewash. Four conversions from Vicker’s left Rasen thirty eight points adrift when the interval arrived.
An injury to fly half Chris Everton forced a rather unique switch in the Rasen ranks at half time as Will Scupham moved from hooker to fill the number ten berth and centre Fred Norton moved to hooker. Rasen made a spirited start to the second half with a long mazy run from fullback Simon Cooper causing Wellingborough to reconsider the ease with which they had dominated the first forty minutes. Sadly, this was only a fleeting moment of inspiration as Wellingborough took back control for long periods of the second half, although they found the going a bit tougher playing up hill. Checkley completed his hattrick within seven minutes of the restart when the ball went loose from a promising Rasen attack and the winger kicked the ball forward, utilising his pace to win the race for the touchdown. The rare sight of a Rasen pack struggling was on full view when Wellingborough again opted for a scrum from a penalty close to the visitors’ line. The men in red and green were ignominiously shunted backwards to suffer the double whammy of conceding a penalty try and losing flanker Jack Norton to a yellow card. A minute later a strong run from John Cartwright highlighted Rasen’s poor tackling technique as far too many players were brushed off by the rampaging lock as they failed to go low enough in the tackle. This set up a score for flanker Tyler Ramoo who then bagged a second try ten minutes later before the dangerous Checkley collected a fourth to round off the try scoring following another Rasen turnover. Vicker’s three successful conversions brought Wellingborough’s total to seventy one in a game they had dominated almost from start to finish.
Ironically this game wouldn’t have been taking place had Wellingborough not been given a reprieve last season through a league reorganisation when they occupied the third relegation spot, but to their credit they have grasped that opportunity and were good value for their win today. Rasen on the other hand looked like a demoralised team who can’t wait for the season to end. The tough season now appears to be taking its toll, but the side must make a final effort in the remaining fixtures to rekindle some spirit in readiness for next season’s challenge.
Rasen: Ashton, Scupham, Southwell, Benson, Chamberlin, Norton J, Janney, Grant, Fenwick, Everton C, Stephens W, Norton F, Pryer, Pridgeon, Cooper
Subs: Pearce (Everton C), Noquet (Fenwick)
Wellingborough: Morton-Bright, Ellson, Mackie, Cartwright, Barlow, Ramoo, Smith, Shipman, Seaton, Vickers, Checkley, Bryan, Mair, Love, Beetson
Subs: Bigley, Frankham, Staden
There is no league game next Saturday during the Easter break, but Rasen will be playing Sleaford at Willingham Road in the Lincolnshire Cup semi-final this Wednesday, 28th March, under floodlights with a 7.30 pm kick off.
The league programme recommences on Saturday 7th April with a trip to Melton Mowbray.
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