Midlands League 2
The sun shone at Woodnook for Kesteven’s annual Old Boys Reunion on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors were Newark and this produced the biggest crowd of the season.
Kesteven kicked off knowing that a strong performance was needed to secure the win needed to stave off the threat of relegation.
The game started at quite a pace and Newark drew first blood with a try scored out wide. The conversion was successful but this setback merely spurred Kesteven to greater efforts.
They were keeping the ball alive well and Will Pert was showing great determination. He made a couple of strong runs and from one he found Ed Bloodworth on his shoulder to take the pass and charge over from 25 metres.
Will Cann’s conversion just faded past the post but he was successful with a penalty shortly after to give the home side a deserved lead.
Charlie Pirie was sent to the sin bin after a skirmish but the loss of a player saw Kesteven raise their game. Newark were unable to take advantage of their numerical advantage; indeed, Kesteven finished the 10 minute spell on the attack.
Ollie Hughes was at the end of good move and got over the line but he couldn’t get the ball down. From the resulting scrum, the Kesteven pack put in a huge push and Dan Turner touched down. Cann’s conversion opened up a 15-7 lead at the break.
The second half started badly for Kesteven as Newark broke away for a try right after the break.
Again the home team reacted well and spent the next 20 minutes in the Newark half. They found it difficult to break down a strong Newark defence and all they had to show was a long range penalty from Cann.
Having weathered the storm, Newark took advantage of an uncharacteristic lapse in the Kesteven defence, picking a loose ball to run in a third try. The conversion put Newrk in the lead with 20 minutes remaining.
For all the efforts of the home side, for whom Goodrich had a great game, they were unable to get the breakthrough they needed and, in the end, they were forced to chase the game and this led to opportunities for Newark who scored two more converted tries.
The home team continued to play good rugby and were rewarded with the final try. The scrum, which had the Newark pack in trouble throughout the game, had one final push which created space for Olly Wood to go over in the corner. Turner converted with a great kick from the touchline.
But it wasn’t quite enough to earn Ks even a losing bonus point, which would certainly have been just reward for their efforts.
This week Kesteven travel to Notts Casuals knowing that a win is vital for them to have any chance of avoiding relegation.
Kesteven: Draper, Hughes, Cann, Goodrich, Miles, Dingley, Wood, Mawhood, Sheardown, Purvis, Bloodworth, Pert, Armstrong, Pirie, Turner. Reps: Parker, Windsor, Peabody.