RUGBY: Depleted Kesteven produce resilient performance despite defeat

Weekend rugby union preview.

Weekend rugby union preview.

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Midlands League 3

East (North)

Chesterfield 26

Kesteven 19

A narrow defeat on the road saw a depleted Kesteven produce a performance of hope and resilience to take them forwards for the rest of the season.

Chesterfield had a large pack and fairly predictable, whilst effective, game-plan of bringing them round the corner repeatedly. The home side’s large number eight made a few good bursts and the athletic fly-half looked dangerous at times.

But to a man, Kesteven held out valiantly for much of the first half with doggedness and ferocious tackling.

Further pressure from Chesterfield took its toll and they scored in the corner after some good hands outflanked the Kesteven defence.

But Ks rallied to put some late first half pressure on Chesterfield with Aaron Whittaker making a great trademark break to beat three players and score in the corner – only for the home touch judge to controversially raise his flag and indicate that Whittaker had placed a hair in touch.

The second half started much like the first with Chesterfield’s large forwards rumbling time after time into the Kesteven defence.

However, it was Kesteven who started to turn the tide. With some good turnovers and fast hands they eventually managed to release Whittaker. He made sure no touch judge could stop him this time by beating his three defenders with ease to score in the corner and level the scores.

Buoyed with optimism, Kesteven then pushed on and good play and fast hands released Rupert Jordan to score in the corner – only for the same touch judge to raise his flag again.

The Chesterfield pack then kicked into gear, and some good territory allowed them to bring their strong number eight into the game. They scored three tries in the space of 20 minutes to take the game to 26-5.

But Kesteven were not done, despite the deflation that should and would normally affect a team at this point. Wood’s clever territorial kicking put Kesteven in some good field position and pressure soon showed cracks in the home defence.

Draper rushed on to the ball from full back, cutting a line under the posts. The quick drop goal from Wood was successful and the game was back on.

But Chesterfield did not lie down, and their forwards once again came round the corner time after time. Fifteen phases were smashed back by Kesteven defenders and, with no other option, the home side’s fly half tried to spread it wide.

Olly Wood picked the pass off with ease and he cantered in from 70m to score the try that gained Kesteven their bonus point.

With two minutes left on the clock, Ks fancied getting the ball back and finding the most unlikely of draws. Chesterfield had a scrum deep in the Kesteven half. The visiting pack found some admirable grit and screwed the Chesterfield scrum into the ground, winning the ball back.

But the next attack lead to a small knock on and Ks had to tackle a Chesterfield player into touch to finish the game. Kesteven left with a losing bonus point.