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Grantham's Kesteven Rugby Club come from behind in first game of the season against Lincoln

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Kesteven 32

Lincoln 26

Kesteven Rugby Club were pleased to be able to take the field at Woodnook and welcome Lincoln for their first competitive game of the season in the NLD Cup.

Dan Turner try line bound, with James Blake (making his first team debut) in support. Credit: Lori Cepelak (47979996)
Dan Turner try line bound, with James Blake (making his first team debut) in support. Credit: Lori Cepelak (47979996)

The afternoon started with a minute’s applause recognizing the loss over the winter of Andrew Sheardown, Paul Woods and ‘little’ Andy Clarke. All made their mark on the club and are remembered fondly.

Kesteven fielded newcomers in James Blake in the back row, Liam Shields and Joe Raddings in the backs with the rest a good combination of returning players. The match started with players having to get used to some temporary variations in the laws. The most significant was the lack of scrums.

The match started at breakneck speed and Lincoln opened the scoring with a fine try by their left wing who sprinted in at the corner. Kesteven’s response would have to be effective, and it was.

They were able to claim the restart and after five minutes of retaining possession, Draper was able to set Purvis free with a clear run to the line.

The game was real end to end stuff and Lincoln were next on the scoresheet. A good break from midfield saw them break a couple of tackles to go in under the posts. The conversion opened up a 12–5 lead.

Again, Ks responded well. Turnover ball secured by Cowley was able to set up a good attack which was well finished by Goodrich who got over exploiting the extra space he had out on the wing.

Once again, the home team made an impact. Purvis won the restart and drove forward into the Lincoln half. The ball was successfully recycled and created space for Harvey Fuller to score giving Kesteven the lead for the first time. This didn’t last long as Lincoln finished the half strongly with second converted try to bring the half time score to Kesteven 15 Lincoln 19.

The second half continued in the same vein with Lincoln adding a further converted try to build up an impressive 15 – 26 lead, setting up a huge challenge to the home team. And how they responded. The pack got on top with Purvis and Sheardown particularly impressive but Cowley Hanson and Turner playing their part.

They eventually broke through with Tom Wood finishing off a strong run under the posts. Grinney added the goal points and with Ks on top now he was able to convert a penalty to narrow the gap to a single point. This set up a grandstand finish and it needed something special to secure the win.

It came with five minutes left when Turner shrugged off a couple of tackles to dive over between the sticks for a try worthy of winning any match. Grinney added the extras to make the score 32-26. It was left to the home team to last out some eight minutes of injury time which they did in some comfort. It was a great effort and newcomer James Blake was deservedly named Man of the Match.

The large crowd had been well entertained by a thrilling match well won by the spirit of the home side.

Kesteven: M Grinney, J Goodrich, Olllie Lowe, Joe Raddings, T Wood, L Shields, A Draper; R Sheardown, X Xanti, G Purvis, D Tweddle, O Hansen, J Cowley, J. Blake, D Turner. Replacements: C Jinks, H Fuller, J Eagle, B Hall, T Webster.

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