Midlands League 3
Notts Corsairs 5
KESTEVEN set off for Nottingham in good heart after their previous week’s big win. Unavailability of regular scrum halves Lines and Wood saw Martyn Parker take the number nine shirt for the first time.
Any thoughts that this would be an easy win were soon dispelled as Corsairs defended with great spirit, while Kesteven seemed to develop a tendency to take the ball on too far and to lose possession. Tries were hard to come by early on but eventually Ks claimed the first one when Will Pert took adavantage of some hesitancy in the home defence to score his first of the season.
This should have settled Kesteven but still they could not get the fluency needed to add to thir tally. The second try came from a kick ahead by Parker which was gathered on the run by Turner. He was half tackled just short of the line but managed to retain control of the ball to score in the corner.
The home team hit back straight away as Kesteven failed to clear their lines and Corsairs went over to cut their deficit to 10-5. Ks replied just before the break. AQgain Parker was the provider as he sent 17-year-old Keiran Taylor off on a beautiful balanced run to the corner for his first senior try.
The second half saw Kesteven step up their forward effort and they forced Corsairs to defend. The home team were unlucky to concede a penalty try as the Kesteven pack took control. This started a steady stream of possession and the tries followed.
First James Goodrich broke away to score, then Tony Woolerton got over the line but lost the ball as he tried to touch down. Aaron Whittaker scored the sixth try soon after, as he took a pass from Woolerton to finish off the move.
Then Rupert Jordan scored the try of the match when he fielded a loose clearance kick out on the touchline and set off on a run to the posts without a hand being laid on him. Goodrich finished the game by scoring with the last move of the game.
Mattie Harland found his range with the boot in the second half and landed conversions for all five second-half tries.
Kesteven: Whittaker, R. Jordan, P. Jordan, Goodrich, Taylor, Harland, Parker, Sheardown, Brown, Purves, Pert, Carew, Durrance, Turner, Woolerton. Reps: Odams, Midgely, Peabody.
Notts Pennant League
West Bridgford 5
BINGHAM travelled to West Bridgford to play under the lights on Friday with as strong a team as they have had for a while.
The game was played in excellent conditions for running and open rugby and a large contingent of supporters made the short journey.
Bingham trailed going into the break but were too strong for the home side in the second half, running in five tries.
Straight from the kick off Bingham were on the attack with some great runs from Ben Mcgill, Jonathan Thomas and Andy Watts, but all to no avail as a resolute Bridgford defence held Bingham at bay. Bingham controlled the possession and territory with some excellent scrimmaging.
The Bingham eight shunted the Bridgford pack back some 10 yards in the home side’s first scrum, and with Ben McGill and Jonathan Thomas stealing and winning line-out ball, the dangerous looking Bridgford backs were not given the opportunity to show their skills.
Bingham played at a frantic pace but quite often players were isolated, and then conceded penalties which allowed the opposition to clear their lines. Bingham continued to pressure the Bridgford line and on his second attempt Tom Packer put the visitors ahead with a penalty.
Bridgford came back and from a scrimmage steal and a lapse in the Bingham defence, the scrum-half ran through untouched to score from half way.
Straight from the kick-off Bingham went straight back on the attack and again pressured the Bridgford line but could not cross the whitewash for that vital score.
The second half started the same as the first as Bingham went straight on the attack, with both Anthony Thomas and Packer kicking astutely into the corners to keep the pressure on Bridgford.
Something had to give and from another excellent scrum on Bridgford ball, Andy Watts pounced on the loose ball and when it finally came to Jonathan Thomas he burst through the remaining tacklers to score under the posts. Packer kicked the conversion for 10-5.
Bingham extended their lead when they drove towards the Bridgford line and from the ruck, Anthony Thomas fed Chris Garrod to score from a pre-planned move. Packer’s kick was good.
KESTEVEN were forced back from the outset and struggled to keep possession against a purposeful Paviors pack.
The visitors’ strength at the breakdown frequently sucked in the Ks defence, leading to overlaps being exploited out wide. Two early scores set the tone as Ks spent large periods in their own 22.
Heroic last ditch tackling from Josh Watts and Bijay Gaire resulted in the ball being held up, but Paviors powered over from the resulting 5m scrum.
A trademark 50m run from centre James Moody early in the second half broke the shackles and Ks were then able to hold Paviors in their half for 10 minutes, although scoring opportunities were scarce.
Unfortunately, injuries then disrupted Kesteven and as Paviors rotated their squad, Ks were pushed back again. A magnificent covering tackle from Tom Mawer prevented a certain score.
Ultimately, Paviors always had too much control for Kesteven and crossed the line frequently in the last quarter.
Kesteven: Stewart, Wright, Henderson, Jakes, Leese, Gaire, Rowland, Miles, Campbell, Mawer, Haggan, Moody, Morrison, Wyatt, Watts, Delbrocco, Minter, Knott.
Kesteven v Spalding
KESTEVEN on Sunday travelled to Spalding, a team that has always been dominant in its division.
It was a perfect morning for rugby and Kesteven started positively and played the best rugby of the season so far. Ks had most of the possession and retained the ball well in all phases of the game.
The front five won all their own scrums and line-outs and took a number against the head from a bigger Spalding front five, with Chester Shelbourne and Tom Scott providing the power at second row and proving equally as strong at the rucks and mauls.
Ben Whinney enjoyed himself at fly half with all the possession and started to mix his game up well with some well-timed passes to set the two quick wingers, Ben Barretto and Daniel Moore, on their way.
Matt Connelly came on as wing in the second game and enjoyed his best performance of the season so far with some great tackling and penetrating runs. Jake Kershaw had his first game in the backs and had the highest tackle count, closely followed by Shelbourne.
Jake Wright had a tremendous game at scrum half and read the game well throughout, and Charlie Thomas is continuing to show great pace and strength.
Spalding 3 Kesteven 4
Spalding 5 Kesteven 7
Spalding 4 Kesteven 5
KESTEVEN arrived at Spalding in fine form and full of life.
Game one saw the team really having to work for gaps on a slightly narrow pitch, with good defensive lines from Spalding. A mid-air steal from the Black Army gave us the play. A big bump on Cameron gave a start near the try line for Kesteven and swift revenge, with Cam feeding to Rory and a quick score to end the game one try up. Game two saw both sides up the pace, and an opening start from Spalding met some excellent tagging by Kesteven, with a clinical tag by Henry to prevent an opposition score. Sylvie demonstrated her normal nimble feet routine to take one right through the middle of the entire Spalding team, with Sam and Sam doing the double on the wing and a great one to pack off the game by Harry who outran the opposition from midfield to hard right top corner to seal victory.
The final encounter of the match saw Theo, Henry and Monty open with a succession of passes against good defence to open the scoring. Beth, Dominic and Fin repeated the move almost immediately in the next start, showing that the team are now really playing as a unit.
Sam B., Sylvie and Cam secured final plays with big runs and a third win for Kesteven.