RUGBY: Kesteven’s stripped down seconds win away

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Notts Pennant League

Group 2

Bakewell 2nd 7

Kesteven 2nd 34

A stripped down Kesteven’s ‘dog pack’ took to the road once again for their furthest away trip of the season.

With a number of regulars unavailable, a bare 15 brave souls made the trip with many asked to play out of position. Having been relocated to the showground pitch just out of town, there was little time to prepare the side for the game.

The pitch itself was in poor condition very muddy with patches of standing water making the going extremely heavy and not particularly conducive to Kesteven’s style of flare rugby. Undeterred Ks took the kick-off against a 14-man Bakewell and looked to take early advantage.

The opening exchanges were positive for Kesteven but Bakewell were no mugs as they created good field position. This early attack was repelled and a couple of good breaks ensued, allowing Ks to find a foothold in the Bakewell half. The breakthrough came soon after as quick hands allowed Will Aspinall to score at the posts. Without a recognised kicker, the conversion attempt failed.

The lead was doubled soon after when Aspinall was again the recipient of some good work and managed to complete an early brace.

This seemed to galvanise the hosts and they rallied to put some pressure on the Kesteven defence.

The hospitalisation of Des Friel with a badly cut finger evened the sides’ numbers up, but Kesteven were determined to finish the half with a further score and Richard Midgley forced his way over the line following a tap penalty for a good try.

And Ks were not finished and quickly wrapped up the bonus point before half time with the try of the game when skipper for the day Phil Jordan made a break on half way. Showing good awareness of the supporting Ben Betts, playing out of position at hooker, he completed the scoring pass for Betts to crash through the puddle guarding the goal line. Jordan slotted the resulting conversion.

Bakewell came out all guns blazing in the second half, playing some great territory but unable to get much reward until a dubious penalty was awarded deep in the 22. From the tap, the ball was seemingly dropped forward by the pass recipient, however, play moved on and Bakewell forced their way over the try line. With the conversion successful, Ks were set on pulling themselves clear.

The pitch and light were deteriorating at a great rate and with as much endeavour as they could muster the dog pack tried as hard as possible to create further scores. The ball was proving difficult to keep hold of and a number of fumbles meant all too often the tries went begging. But Bakewell were tiring and themselves running out of ideas.

Eventually a break was made and Sam Danford was able to keep hold of the final pass for a well deserved try which was converted by Jordan.

Determined to finish with a flourish and with time running out, a speculative kick was followed up and, with the last defender struggling to control the ball, it was left to Jordan Payne to slide over the line for the final score and, indeed, play of the game.

Kesteven: P. Dolan, Betts, A. Clift-Hill, Danford, Midgley, Armstrong, Cole, Friel, Payne, P. Jordan, Charles, R. Dolan, Aspinall, Cartwright, Windsor.