Sat 7 Apr 2018, 15:00
The red and greens returned to league action with a trip to Melton Mowbray and the game was much closer than the score line suggests, but a frenetic scoring blitz from the home team when Rasen’s porous midfield defence was in absentia opened up too wide a margin for the visitors to claw back. Rasen made a bright start after Melton’s initial attack and were building the phases nicely until a telegraphed pass was intercepted by Henry Kaczmarczyk and the winger sprinted clear under the posts to leave an easy conversion for Harvey Green. The following twenty minutes or so were a complete nightmare for Rasen as Melton ran riot, almost scoring at will whilst the defensive capabilities of the men in red and green were exposed as Rasen’s poor alignment and total absence of tackling in some quarters were ruthlessly exploited by Melton’s strong running. Two tries each for centres Klay Radford and Oliver Circuit highlighted the midfield weakness, whilst number eight Kieran Bugby weighed in with a try of his own and Green added two more conversions to give Melton a commanding 36 – 0 lead with the second quarter in its infancy. A tactical switch in the backline plugged the hole and despite the scoreline, Rasen began to emerge from the wreckage of Melton’s earlier onslaught. Patiently working the phases, the forwards made inroads into Melton territory forcing them to concede penalties. From a lineout following a penalty Rasen employed the tried and tested catch and drive routine for prop Matt Ashton to peel round and burrow his way over the line. Tom Alldridge slotted the conversion to give another shot in the arm to the rejuvenated red and greens. However, Melton had the final say of the half when flanker Leon Gormley scored on the stroke of half time following a lineout when he drove down the blindside. Green’s excellent touchline conversion rubbed further salt into the Rasen wounds as the half ended with Melton 43 -7 to the good.
Rasen suffered an early blow shortly after the restart when Ashton was unable to shake off an injury sustained in the closing stages of the first half and had to leave the field. Lock Charlie Benson gamely moved up to the coalface of the front row to take over the propping duties and battled hard all afternoon. The half was evenly poised until Matt Cox, seemingly having lost some pounds to possibly relinquish the title of the most corpulent fly half in the league, broke blind and Rasen reverted back to their earlier habit of standing off tackles. Cox took full advantage of this before releasing Kaczmarczyk for the winger to outstrip what was left of a floundering defence. Rasen responded positively through the forwards to put pressure on the home defence that fell back into conceding penalties and losing Marcus Badham to a yellow card despite the hooker’s lamentable plea to the referee that it had been his first offence. Rasen appeared to be on the front foot, but a turnover undid all of the hard work as Melton counterattacked from deep for Gormley to charge up the touchline to cross the white wash to extend Melton’s lead. Once again Rasen came back through their forwards and Melton’s penalty count accelerated. A further catch and drive almost yielded dividends, but desperate defence managed to hold up Rasen over the line. The visitors continued to maintain their foothold deep in Melton’s territory and another penalty brought the demise of Gormley, whose churlish demeanour clearly showed his take on the yellow card. Another lineout routine pushed Rasen over the gain line, quickly followed by a neat pass to Jack Norton for the likeable flanker to grab a try to gain some reward for his unstinting work. Alldridge added the conversion, but with legs tiring the sight of the sylph like figure of Cox rounding off the scoring with a sprint took some believing, but score he did and with Green converting all of Melton’s second half tries, the home side finished victorious with a result that has probably saved their Midlands 1 status for the time being.
As with so many weeks there were patches of play that showed what the side is capable of doing, but they were let down by some woeful defending in the first half that gave Melton the opportunity to build a big score. With two league games to go, the side needs to stick to their task in the knowledge that they are laying the foundations for a new beginning in Midlands 2 next season.
Rasen: Ashton, Alldridge, Southwell, Chamberlin, Benson, Norton J, Grant, Pryer, Fenwick, Everton C, Stephens T, Norton F, Lawton, Stephens W, Noquet
Subs: Crowe (Ashton), Palmer (Stephens T)
Melton Mowbray: Stone, Badham, Jeremiah, Long, Crossland, Kelsall H, Gormley, Bugby, Rose, Cox, Kaczmarczyk, Radford, Circuit, Green, Hellivell
Subs: Kelsall E, Meakin, Pawley
Next week Rasen return to Willingham Road for the last home game of the season where Northampton Old Scouts will be the visitors. Kick off is 3 pm and it is also Sponsors Day so expect a big turnout to support the team.
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