Midlands League 2
Kesteven had an uphill struggle to come back into the game after a disorganised first half of many mistakes, but at least earned a bonus point with a four-try comeback.
It was not long before Kesteven found themselves fiercely defending their lines within their own 22. Dronfield were awarded a penalty which they duly slotted on the 13th minute and just six minutes later Ks were caught off-guard following an error and Dronfield ran in their first try, which was successfully converted. Less than a minute later, with the visitors pinned in their 22 following an error once again, Dronfield were awarded another penalty making the score 13-0 after just 25 minutes.
The home side capitalised on communication problems within the Kesteven ranks and badly placed kicks for their next two tries, and only missed one of the subsequent conversions, giving a half time score of 25-0.
Further mistakes and disarray from Kesteven resulted in two further tries from Dronfield early in the second half which left Kesteven trailing 39-0 on the scoreboard.
Eventually the visitors’ first break came when Dan Turner was able to pop the ball up in a tackle for the supporting Martin Carew to snatch and make a 40m charge for the Dronfield line. Although the Kesteven number weight was hauled down just feet away from the try line, the advantages of a long reach allowed Carew to secure Kesteven’s first try after 52 minutes.
Kesteven pinned Dronfield in their own half of the pitch and Turner and Carew were almost able to replicate the first try just a few minutes after the restart. Ks’ next came when Andrew Peabody set Scott Odams loose and the loosehead prop crashed through the Dronfield defence to secure five further points
From the restart, through smart work and a seamless link between the forwards and backs, Kesteven again pressed the home side back on their 5m line. Dronfield tried desperately to clear their lines but Richard Midgely was there to scoop the charge down and secure another five points with just five minutes remaining.
Olly Wood set off on a 50m downhill run before popping to Kieran Taylor who finished the length-of-the-pitch jaunt to touch down for Kesteven’s fourth try, securing the bonus point at 39-20.
But Dronfield were not done and produced some of their own magic to score out wide, with the conversion going astray in the final minute of the game.
Man of the match was Martin Carew.
Kesteven: Odams, Sheardown, P. Dolan, Sayle Jnr, Price, Peacock, Midgely, Carew, Draper, Harland, Taylor, Bradley, Goodrich, Ingram, Wood. Reps: P. Jordan, Parker, Turner
Kesteven welcomed Paviors for the top of the table clash and the game started with some determined running and rucking from the home side.
With some strong forward play, it was Taylor Bowers who made the first break and with a cheeky step he showed the Paviors back line a clean pair of heals to score under the posts.
Not to be outdone by the backs, Ks’ forward produced a rolling mall which took them over the line for Charlie Pirie to touch down.
The rest of the half was dominated by Kesteven, determined not to let Paviors have any ball. Matt Grinney was on form with his boot and the half time score was 12-0.
Paviors started to develop some running rugby of their own after the break, which eventually produced a score for the visitors.
But the home produced some lovely running rugby with tries from the Kesteven pack through captain Ed Bloodworth and Josh Allen, and wings – Jordan Addlesee and Joe Ryder.
Paviors scored one more try but the rest of the game was a one-sided affair and the final score placed Kesteven top of the league going into the national competition.
Kesteven: Allen, Danford, Cole, Pirie, Singer, Shennan, White, Bloodworth, B. Addlesee, Fletcher, Ryder, Bosworth, Bowers, Cartwright, Grinney. Reps: Nathan Peters, Dan Fay, J. Addlesee, Adams, Taggart.
Scunthorpe immediately made inroads with a strong run from their big second row.
Kesteven defended well and launched a good counter-attack up the left wing through Archer and Whinney. From a line-out, Pirie caught and drove over to open the scoring.
Scunthorpe responded well and scored through their quick fly half. But two more scores from Pirie saw Ks start to take control of the game. Whinney converted one for a 17-5 lead.
The home side pulled a converted try back just before half time to close the gap.
Scunthorpe scored another under the posts after the break, which was converted to give them a two point lead.
With Kesteven under pressure on their own line again, Eagle took a quick tap and released Pirie who raced the length of the pitch to score.
Casey came into the game with some strong runs through the centre and from one crashed through to score under the posts.
From the restart, Ks caught the ball and moved it wide to Archer who broke free and raced away also to score under the posts. Both tries were converted to give Kesteven a commanding 36-19 lead.
The last five minutes saw Scunthorpe come back strongly and they were rewarded with a score out wide.
Man of the match was awarded to Jake Eagle who led by example up front.
Kesteven: Archer, Bacon, Cant, Casey, Donnelly, Eagle, Green, Kershaw, Lewicki, Norsworthy, Pirie, Scott, Shelbourn, Sweeney, Thomas, Whinney, Wright.