2s Had Rasen on the Ropes in the First Half But Go Down to Sucker Punch in the Second
By DAVID GODFREY
Market Rasen Seconds 52, Newark Seconds 17
With a typically eclectic mix of players – predominantly forwards out of position with a leavening of backs – this was always going to be an interesting fixture for the 2s and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Newark were aggressive from the outset, driving up the centre after receiving the kick off and forcing a penalty and an attacking line out in the Rasen 22, only to see this stolen by the home side and cleared back to the halfway line. Newark won the next line out but knocked on in the loose, and when Rasen were awarded a free kick at the resulting scrum, they chipped the ball over the defence and ran onto it, barging over the try line for the first points of the day – 7-0.
An inauspicious start maybe, but this heralded the best period of proper Newark rugby by the 2s this season. Forwards led, with the backs hungry for work and Alex Jackson acting as ringmaster, for most of the rest of the half Rasen were completely stifled, and it is a credit to their defence that they only coughed up 3 tries – it could easily have been double that. The first came after repeated infringement by Rasen within their 5 metre line resulted in a penalty try and yellow card (7-7); the second was the end result of a series of phases which saw colt Jacob Pearson bully his way across for 5 points – his first senior try (7-12); and the third came after a take against the head in the set piece (Newark stole the bulk of Rasen’s ball in the scrum throughout the game) gave Jordan Couling – playing at scrum-half rather than flanker – the leeway to shoot the ball out to James Harding who picked a great line to notch up another score – 7-17.
So far so good, but ominously it was Rasen who would close out the half in the dying seconds after intercepting the ball during another Newark onslaught and streaking up the pitch to score by the posts – 14-17 and still very much in the running.
And so to the second half - and a rather different outcome. Rasen will have noted that they scored on 2 out of the 3 times they put together a genuine attack and that Newark were vulnerable to a kick behind and chase. They were not averse to a bit of old-fashioned ‘niggle’ when the (excellent) ref was unsighted and worked hard to slow the ball down without leaking penalties, using their big 2nd rows to carry into contact and create a bit of go-forwards. In truth, they got inside Newark’s heads a bit and played a smarter game which we didn’t respond to quickly enough, and it gave them enough of an edge to make it count. By the end of the half, Rasen had scored 6 unanswered tries and Newark were on the receiving end of another big scoreline against them – 52-17, not particularly reflective of the game, but that’s rugby.
That’s not to say that Newark didn’t have their chances in the second half – they did, and should probably have scored two or three times. But they struggled with the finishing touches and as in the first half were unable to convert pressure into points. Nonetheless every one of them will have walked off that pitch feeling that they could have won the game and that they had been very close at times to a standout performance. If we can get at least some continuity of personnel, that will surely come.
Great to see Lewis Himsworth back in play at prop and also the imposing presence of Rhys Davis playing his second consecutive game for Newark and providing some much-needed solidity in the front row.
Next up – Matlock away.
Tries: Penalty try, Jacob Pearson, James Harding