Notts Lincs & Derbys Shield
Kesteven were knocked out of the competition after putting in a fantastic performance against the leaders of the league above
In the early moments of the game both teams fired warning shots with Stamford looking controlled and tidy with their phase play.
And it was Stamford that opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a try in the corner.
The game was a tight affair with both teams mainly cancelling each other out, but the one big difference on the day was the scrum in which Kesteven dominated. It was from one such scrum that Kesteven turned the ball over and allowed number eight Dan Turner to scuttle over in the 27th minute. Whittaker added the extra points to put Ks ahead.
With their first try on the board, Kesteven found their feet and started to find holes in the home team’s defence, as well as keeping up both scrum dominance and a strong driving line-out. Ks were awarded a penalty on the 34th minute inside the Stamford 22. They ran the ball hard and eventually Scott Odams went over for a try, again converted by Whittaker.
Stamford then came back but Kesteven were able to turn the ball over and clear their lines right down the centre of the pitch to the awaiting Stamford full back who appeared to knock the ball on. This led to half of the Kesteven team pausing their chase, but the referee had other ideas and allowed play to continue. With the scraggy chasing line now all over the place, the Stamford full back picked them off and the home team scored in the opposite corner to their first.
Stamford then hit Kesteven with a volley by creeping in for another try from a line-out just before half time to take the half time score 15-14 to Stamford.
The first 20 minutes of the second half were much like the first with both teams playing good rugby and cancelling each other out. Both kickers missed penalty shots during this period to leave the score unchanged.
Kesteven were at last awarded a penalty on the 61st minute after repeated Stamford scrum infringements and they kicked deep into home territory. From the resulting line-out, Kesteven drove hard and Turner flopped over the line to register his second try of the match.
The constant toing and froing continued with Stamford replicating the Kesteven score with a pushover try of their own on the 64th minute. This time they converted to make the score 22-19.
The black army supporters were not worried as they believed that with the dominance of the scrumming reaching such farcical levels, more penalties and field position would surely give Kesteven their next opportunity.
It was at one such scrum on the 75th minute that Kesteven thought they had the penalty they deserved, with Stamford’s pack scattered on the floor, but the referee mysterious awarded it the other way.
The Stamford kicker finished the game off with a long distance penalty to make the final score 25-19. Kesteven kept on pushing to the end to find the final try but time beat them in the end.
Kesteven: Odams, Sheardown, Purvis, Tweddle, Osbourne, Woolerton, Armstrong, Turner, Draper, Parker, Miles, Goodrich, Berry, Taylor, Whittaker: Payne, Cooper.
Notts Pennant League
Notts Casuals 2nd 5
Kesteven 2nd 27
The game started in sloppy fashion but Kesteven eventually got a foothold in the game with some concerted pressure which led to the award of a penalty on on the 10 metre line. Matt Grinney stepped up but his effort fell narrowly short.
Kesteven then pressed hard again from the 22 drop out and were awarded another penalty on the 22m line, in front of the posts. Grinney stepped up again and this time slotted the ball cleanly through the uprights.
Despite Kesteven’s dominance at the set-piece, Casuals won a scrum on Ks’ 10 metre line where their number eight picked up and made a solid break into the 22 down the blindside. After several phases, Casuals worked the overlap and touched down in the left hand corner.
Kesteven then moved up a gear and put concerted pressure on Casuals, getting to within two metres of the line. Quick ball again from the ruck was passed out wide to the four-on-one overlap but was cynically slapped down by the Casuals full back, leading to the referee awarding a penalty try. Grinney kicked the extras.
Ks then made a super break from Phil Jordan who offloaded to Ben Hall who ran strongly down the wing. The ball went through the hands to Danford who was stopped just short, but James O’Neil was on hand to dot the ball over the line to make it 15-5 to Kesteven.
Casuals then began to up the ante with some strong running from their centres. In the final minute of the half, Casuals were only stopped from scoring by some superb body on the line defence from the Kesteven forwards. From the resulting scrum, Pete Dolan stole the ball against the head and Kesteven were able to clear into touch, bringing the half to a close.
The second half began much like the first ended with Casuals spending the first 15 minutes deep in Kesteven territory, but resolute defending again kept them at bay.
Casuals began to tire and Kesteven started to find their rhythm again, making consistent breaks through midfield. Ben Betts capitalised on one of these, showing great pace to run in from the 10 metre line. Rob Windsor’s kick was good.
In the last 10 minutes, Kesteven began to dominate further and worked a lovely overlap for Ian Charles to run in a bonus point try in the corner.
Kesteven: Ward, Dolan, Mawby, Davies, Singer, Danford, Hanson, Vincent, Grinney, Jordan, Betts, Windsor, Blackley, Hall, Charles, Coghill, O’Neil, Smith, RM.