Notts Pennant League
Newark 3rd 12
Kesteven 2nd 47
Kesteven’s second string ran out for the final time this season and for the last time with skipper Pete Dolan as he steps down after three years in charge.
Egged on by their home support, Newark started the stronger and pressured the Kesteven line early on, but a feature of Kesteven’s play is their resilient defending and the early pressure was contained.
The hosts’ defence held strong until senior debutant Sam Butler broke through a tackle and sprinted to the line for an excellent try. Matt Harland added the extra points.
Ks kept were soon back in the Newark half and, with a scrum on the home side’s five-metre line, the pressure was applied and the second debutant Charlie Pirie picked up from the base and finished the try. The conversion out wide made no difference to Harland and he slotted the conversion again.
Kesteven quickly marched back up the field. This time an impressive catch and drive from a lineout was utilised and it was coach Mark Sayle who was perfectly positioned at the back of the drive to complete the impressively powerful score.
Newark looked a little shell-shocked that none of their endeavour and looked to end the half with some concerted pressure on the Kesteven line. Eventually they made space on the outside for their wing who just managed to touch down within the try area for a deserved score.
Changes were made by both sides at half time and having worked once already, Ks used the catch and drive again, with Sayle Senior throwing to Mark Sayle Junior. This time Newark managed to defend the drive well but left the blind side vulnerable, and it was that man, coach Sayle, again who scored the try.
The scores had all come from forwards and so the strong assembled back line were keen to get in on the act. Following a mesmerising mazy run from Will Young, space was found for Justin Dingley to scoot through for a score, quickly followed by Matt Harland who eventually managed to free himself after many half breaks.
Yet again Newark came back and more concerted pressure was heaped on the Ks line, but their defence was admirable until the referee adjudged Sayle to have killed the ball and sent the coach for a 10 minute rest.
Newark were quick to capitalise on this and were able to find one of their large forwards miss-matched against a back and he completed another try for the hosts.
But Ks were not done and it was Dingley who again found his way to the line following some fine interplay between forwards and backs.
Kesteven: Dolan, Sayle Snr, Osbourne, Hanson, Coghill, Butler, Midgley, Pirie, Dent, Harland, Charles, Dingley, Windsor, Hughes Jake, Young, Reps: Crowson, Blackley, Vincent, Armstrong, McAllister, Sayle Jnr.
Kesteven welcomed Stamford last Sunday knowing they needed to play well to offset player absences.
As expected, Stamford started strongly and Kesteven defended well with early tackles from Moth and Taylor stopping any early challenge.
Ks competed hard in the early stages with good runs by Peters and Kwasau finally releasing Spriggs to run in the first try.
A second try was set up by Brewis kicking into space for Edwards to chase, catch and set the ball down. Kesteven now settled into their game plan and superb linking from the backs set up Spriggs to score just before half time.
The back row of Cox, Peters and Kwasau continued to apply pressure in the second half with powerful runs, with J. Cole and Taylor in support, to allow a further Spriggs try.
Fine lineout play by the forwards continued to allow Wainright, Parr and Palin freedom in the backs to distribute the ball in the backs, with Spriggs scoring twice more to bring up his fifth try.
Some ragged Kesteven defence allowed Stamford a couple of well-deserved tries in the second half as they once again proved themselves worthy opponents.
Adam Tapson had a fine day with the boot, successfully converting four tries.
Kesteven: Brenton, Brewis, B. Cole, J. Cole, Cox, Del Brocco, Edwards, Fuller, Hodgson, Kwasau, Moth, Parr, Palin, Peters, Spriggs, A. Tapson, T. Tapson, Taylor, Wainwright.