RUGBY: Kesteven defeated in first local derby of season

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Midlands 3

East (North)

Sleaford 31

Kesteven 26

Kesteven made the short trip to Sleaford for the first local derby of the season, where the pitch looked to be in perfect condition for a good open game.

Kesteven were confident going into the match but quickly found themselves on the back foot.

Sleaford won the ball in their own half. There did not look to be in any danger but their big centre straightened the line and found a gap which he exploited with a fine run which finished up under the bar for the opening try which was converted.

This did not faze the visitors and they set about playing sensible rugby through the forwards. Purvis led by example and won a penalty 15 metres out.

He took a quick tap and was stopped just short illegally. He opted for the scrum and Sleaford were guilty of preventing the try being scored, giving the referee an easy decision to award a penalty try.

Sleaford repeated their early play with a try very similar to their first with another run through the middle to score at the posts. This also was converted.

Kesteven’s task got even harder a couple of minutes later when James Cowley was given a yellow card for a late tackle. Sleaford made the extra man count with two more long range tries to open up a 28-7 lead, earning an early bonus point.

To their credit, Kesteven came back and finished the half strongly. Turner made a dart upfield and quick passing through Galloway and Windsor set Harry Cox on a run to the line. He feinted to come inside then veered out to score an impressive try.

Just before the break, Turner was again the provider in a move finished off by Jack Stokes. Galloway converted from far out to narrow the gap to 28-19 at half time.

Kesteven turned round full of confidence. They had the bulk of possession but lacked the composure to turn that possession into points.

Sleaford were forced into conceding a number of penalties and had two men in the sin bin. Even against 13 men, Kesteven could not score until just before the end.

They won a scrum close to the line and Mark Dent scored to earn a try bonus. The conversion brought them to within two points with two minutes left.

There was to be no fairytale ending, however, as Sleaford were awarded a penalty which they converted to seal victory.

It was two bonus points earned but left Ks with a real sense of disappointment at an opportunity lost.

Kesteven: Cooper, Stokes, Windsor, Halliday, Cox, Galloway, Dent, Pert, Sheardown, Purvis, Pirie, Cowley, Cann, Armstrong, Turner. Reps: Fuller, Brown, Draper.