RUGBY: Kesteven second string slip to narrow defeat

Weekend rugby union preview.
Weekend rugby union preview.

Notts Pennant League

Kesteven 2nd 13

Lincoln 2nd 15

Kesteven were able to field quite possibly their strongest team of the season for this ‘top of the table’ clash. However, despite this, it was clear the conditions were going to hamper Kesteven’s efforts to play fast expansive rugby.

Lincoln also looked to have a strong team, and straight from the kick-off hesitancy from the Ks pack allowed Lincoln to gather the kick-off and bring play into the Kesteven 22. A great covering tackle from Phil Jordan prevented a certain score in the opening seconds.

Kesteven looked a little shell-shocked in the opening 10 minutes as Lincoln continually pushed the home attacks backwards, and mounting some significant attacks themselves. However, great pressure in the midfield from Betts and Cooper halted these attacks swiftly.

Kesteven then began to come into the game with strong running from Peabody, Fisk and Midgley. Ks were unlucky not to force the ball over in the corner but with a strong wind against the Lincoln clearing kick, the ball fell to Ben Hall who launched a strong attack and from the resulting play, Midgley burst through from 30 metres for the opening score.

Kesteven then began to dominate and minutes later Rupert Jordan, who had an excellent game throughout, found the slightest of gaps and set off on a mazy run to the try line. Unfortunately, the conversion was again missed in the far from easy kicking conditions.

Lincoln then had a late rally and, with play stretched, they found themselves in acres of space and their hooker was able to saunter home from the best part of 40 metres, under the posts, making the conversion unmissable.

The second half began with Ks knowing their work was cut out, heading into a strong breeze and a youthful Lincoln second string with their tails up. This was to prove the case and minutes into the half Lincoln worked an overlap and the openside flanker raced over to score to go 12-10 up.

Kesteven were not to be outdone though and moved up a few gears, with Betts making solid inroads in the midfield. This led to a series of penalties in the Lincoln 22, but Ks could not quite get the ball over the line. On the third penalty awarded, Ks opted for the posts and Grinney duly knocked the ball over to give Kesteven a 13-12 lead with 10 minutes left.

The game became fairly scrappy as the pitch and conditions deteriorated further and, with five minutes to go, Lincoln were awarded a penalty out wide, 30 metres out. With the Black Army defence holding firm, they opted for a speculative effort at the posts. This however, proved to be the right decision with the Lincoln kicker slotting expertly to give them a 15-13 win.

Kesteven 2nd XV take on Notts Casuals at home this Saturday.

Kesteven: Ward, Fisk, Mawby, Cole, Davies, Windsor, Midgley, Peabody, Jordan, Grinney, Betts, Cooper, Hall, Charles, Jordan, Newhouse, Arnold, Del Brocco.