Midlands League 3
Amber Valley 0
Kesteven made the trip over to Amber Valley, in Derbyshire, on a cold and grey afternoon.
The team had many changes from the normal line-up, but it did not seem to weaken the Black Army. The newcomers came mainly from last year’s impressive under-17 team, with Sam Danford, Ben Addlesee and Ed Cole all making their first team debuts. Kesteven also welcomed back Woolerton, Lines and Phil Jordan into the squad.
The first half was a cagey affair with Ks unable to gain a real foothold. However, they were able to open the scoring when Whittaker scored a trademark try, which he then converted.
The visitors took a little time to impose themselves on a spirited Amber Valley side, although Kesteven threatened to breakout at all times. The highlight of the first half was Ben Addlesee’s first Kesteven try, also converted by Whittaker.
The second half was different altogether as Kesteven’s superior fitness took its toll. Cole and Lines came on for Odams and Jordan, and immediately the tries began to flow.
Whittaker was put away by Wood for his second, also converted, before Amber Valley had a player dispatched to the sin bin.
Youngster Cole’s try was the main highlight of the second half, following a fine offload from Sam Danford after showing great support running.
The floodgates opened in the last 10 minutes as Sheardown, Wood, Jordan and Lines added tries. Whittaker converted two, and Jordan one, to make for a comprehensive winning scorelilne.
It was a great team performance, with backs Whittaker, Goodrich and Jepson prominent throughout. Forwards Woolerton, Purvis, Sheardown and Payne had very strong games.
Man of the match went to scrum half Addlesee for a strong debut.
Kesteven: Osbourne, Sheardown, Purvis, Pert, Cowley, Payne, Odams, Woolerton, Addlesee, Wood, Cartwright, Goodrich, Jespson, P Jordan, Whittaker, Lines, Danford, Cole.
Lincs Merit League
Lincoln 3rd 39
Kesteven 3rd 19
After a tough encounter against Lincoln in the first meeting of the season, ‘The Horde’ were keen to put in a good account of themselves at Lincoln’s new HQ.
Injury and work commitments meant that some of the regular personnel were unavailable so, with Bellamy and Griffin making only their second appearance of the season and Armstrong and Bowles returning from injury, Kesteven took to the field and received the kick-off.
Jessop collected the ball and immediately put the forwards on the front foot, driving back towards the Lincoln half. A series of driving phases followed, moving Ks deep into Lincoln territory before a turnover enabled the home side to clear their lines.
This established the pattern of the game for the first 20 minutes, with both sides contesting possession keenly without any clear advantage.
In the scrum, Ks had the upper hand against a lighter Lincoln pack and Roughan, playing his first game at scrum half, was able to move the ball away with good hand speed on several occasions, releasing Price and Taylor to run hard at the Lincoln defence.
After 25 minutes, a scrum against the head released another attack which pushed Lincoln back towards their 22, and quick recycled ball was fed out to the left for Price to collect on the overlap and run in for the first try.
Lincoln came back hard and after 10 minutes had levelled the score after breaking through a static defensive line and evading the covering tackle from Blackley.
Five minutes before half time, Lincoln kicked through on a loose ball from the base of scrum and the chasing Lincoln player collected and touched down to give them the lead at the close of the first half.
Having been dominant for long periods of the first half, Ks were keen to press home the attack from the start of the second.
But Lincoln began to find gaps in the Kesteven defence and quick hands and good support play led to a succession of scores during the first 20 minutes to take the game away from the men in black.
Injury forced Roughan to leave the field of play and Price moved to scrum half, galvanising the forwards to take the game back to the home side with a series of hard driving phases which camped the Black Army deep in Lincoln territory.
Five minutes from time, the pressure finally paid dividends when the ball was shipped out to the right and an inside pass released McAllister to race in for the score.
Despite the scoreline, it was a far closer contest than the first meeting this season and, even with a number of players out of position, the Black Army spirit was plain to see, especially in the final quarter of the game.
Kesteven: Blackley, McAllister, Taylor, Bellamy, Armstrong, T. Price, Roughan, Mawby, Ward, T. Smith, Jessop, Minter, Griffin, Vincent, Cheetham. Reps: Bowles, T. Smith, Peters.