RUGBY: Kesteven maintain top of the league status
Midlands League 3
Notts Moderns 0
Kesteven made the short trip to Nottingham looking to maintain their position at the top of the league.
Will Bacon came into the side at hooker and Will Pert and Richard Armstrong returned to the pack in place of injured captain Tom Webster. In the backs, Justin Dingley and Will Cann resumed after a long injury lay-off, while Adam Draper started at scrum half in place of the injured Olly Wood.
Any thoughts that this match against the side at the lower end of the league would be an easy run out were soon dispelled, as the home side scrapped well for possession. The early stages were full of handling errors and there was very little rhythm to the play.
It took Kesteven 20 minutes to register the first try. Cann came on as first replacement for Curtis Dingley and was immediately in action. A good move in midfield saw James Goodrich send his centre partner Cann in for the opening try. Whittaker added the conversion.
Ks added to their tally just before the break when Whittaker ran in after good work from Justin Dingley.
In the second half. Kesteven started well but still found it hard to get the breakthrough their play deserved. Parker was replaced by Curtis Dingley then Whittaker scored his second try. Pert was the provider with a fine pass to the wing and Aaron raced in to finish the move in style.
Kesteven went in search of the bonus point try but they found it elusive. With 15 minutes remaining, coach Mark Sayle freshened up the side with Ben Betts and Leo Vincent on for Justin Dingley and Will Pert.
The Moderns resistance was eventually broken when Curtis Dingley was able to put the strong running Goodrich clear for a good try. Then, two minutes later, James Cowley was on hand to support Draper and take his pass to go in for the try.
The match finished with Kesteven finally able to exert their superiority when Will Bacon, who had a fine game at hooker, took the scoring pass from Dan Turner to crash over. On a day which was frustrating for the goal kickers, Whittaker was able to steer this conversion over the bar.
The bonus point win ensured that Kesteven stay three points clear of Loughborough. Man of the match was awarded jointly to Ollie Hughes, who had a fine game and was unlucky not to score, and to Whittaker who was back to his twinkle toes best.
Kesteven: J. Dingley, Whittaker, C. Dingley, Goodrich, Hughes, Parker, Draper, Sheardown, Bacon, Purvis, Pert, Cowley, Pirie, Armstrong, Turner. Reps: Cann, Betts, Vincent.
l This week the first team have a week off, with their next match being against Ashby at home. This match will see the club hold its annual old boys’ reunion.
Club president Mike Money is looking to welcome all members old and new to share memories of the good old days while enjoying the exploits of the present day team. Proceedings start with a buffet lunch from 2pm.
Notts Pennant League
Kesteven 2nd 24
Notts Moderns 2nd 10
For the first time this season, Kesteven’s second team had a plethora of players going into the game and saw a welcome return to the black shirt for Matt Harland and Dominic Brister.
The game started at a frenetic pace with Kesteven mounting some good early attacks. The deadlock was broken early on when Matt Grinney broke through and outpaced the full back to score in the corner.
Moderns were not to be taken lightly though and a succession of penalties awarded against the black army allowed the Nottingham outfit to work their way into the Kesteven half. Some ferocious tackling by Phil Jordan and Rob Windsor in the centres thwarted any chance of Moderns crossing the whitewash.
Kesteven then mounted their best attack of the game, with some great phase play by the forwards releasing the backs. Good hands from Harland and Jordan put Windsor into space who broke into the opposition half. Just before being hauled down by the covering defence, he gave a neat offload to Will Wood who sprinted to the line for the second score, duly converted by Grinney for 12-0.
Moderns again kept pressing and were keen to get their speedster outside centre into the game. However, some miscommunication by them allowed Jack Newhouse to race down the pitch and offload to Rob Windsor who capped a fine first half with a try.
Kesteven now had the wind in the second half and began to use this to their advantage early on with some great kicks from Wood, Jordan and Grinney. With Ks looking for the bonus point try, Moderns were finally able to get their centre in some space in broken play and he managed to weave his way to the line for Moderns’ first try of the match.
Kesteven were buoyed by a stern talking to under the posts from Des Vincent and immediately worked their way up the pitch, with some fine yards gained by the ever youthful Richard Midgley and Andrew Peabody. Despite a significant overlap, the forwards kept powering forward and Frankie Davies was able to bundle his way over under the sticks for the bonus point try which was again converted by Grinney and 24-5.
In the final passages of the game. Moderns exerted some consistent pressure on Kesteven and were able to force a second try in the last play of the game.
It was a great game and saw Ks get back to winning ways after a draw and two losses. With strong numbers, there should be no reason why they cannot secure second place in the league.
A special mention went to Will Spencer who had his first game for Kesteven and acquitted himself very well in the second row.
Kesteven: C. Durham, Ward, Arnold, Davies, Singer, Midgely, Peabody, Friel, Grinney, Harland, Jordan, Windsor, Newhouse, Del Brocco, Wood, Brister, K. Durham, Charles, Mawby, Spencer.