Midlands 2 East (North)
Kesteven RFC 21
Kesteven earned a one-point victory against Coalville on Saturday.
Once again the hosts had to reshuffle the side prior to kick off, but they were pleased to welcome back Whitaker, Cann and Goodrich to the back division, while Turner was in the second row.
Pirie, Ward and Purvis made up the front row.
Coalville kicked of into the slight breeze and quickly gained possession to set up camp in the home 22.
The early exchanges proved that Kesteven were going to have to work hard to retain the ball against a strong Coalville pack, but the quality of their back division were capable of creating much out of nothing.
The first chance came when Whitaker broke free down the right touchline.
He kicked ahead and Coalville were pleased to touch down for a 22 drop out.
Their player attempted to take a quick drop out but in his haste he was judged to have barged Cann out of the way in an attempt to win a penalty.
The referee however found him guilty of foul play and awarded the penalty to Kesteven.
A quick tap took play up to the goal line where Wood got the ball and whipped out a great pass to Turner, who came up at a great angle to take the ball at pace and crash over for the try.
Galloway converted with a fine kick.
Coalville responded wth more of the ball but they couldn’t put any coherent play together.
K’s again were grateful for any possession they could get and doubled their lead with an exquisite piece of rugby.
Wood got possession from a ruck 40 metres out.
He feinted to go left then put in a superb kick over his shoulder to the right corner.
Turner read the play perfectly and raced through to touch down for his second try.
Galloway added a second conversion and it was 14–0 after 20 minutes.
The task ahead of the Kesteven pack was taking its toll as Coalville turned the screw through the forwards.
The home pack were conceding penalties and Vincent paid the price with a yellow card.
The visitors took advantage of the extra man by running in their first try two minutes later to cut the deficit.
The visitors continued to dominate in the forwards and Kesteven were still conceding penalties.
Parker came off the bench to replace Ward.
Just as Vincent was about to return Turner followed him to the bin when the referee decided he had handled in the ruck.
Half time came with Kesteven still in the lead at 14–5 but turning to face the wind with 14 men.
Coalville got off to a good start to the second half and were soon adding to their score with a try which was converted.
Things got worse for K’s as Butler was judged to have taken a Coalville player out as they both jumped for the ball and he became the third Kesteven player to go to the sin bin.
Coalville sensed their chance and added a penalty to take the lead.
Their scrum was now dominant and pushed the home pack back 15 metres to win a penalty.
Rather than kick for goal they chose to take a scrum but they were judged to have lifted the home front row illegally.
Galloway put in a superb kick to half way.
From the line out K’s won the ball and Parker cleverly switched the direction of play to send Cann clear.
The centre used his outside backs as a decoy and raced in under the posts for a great score.
Galloway again converted to open up a six-point lead.
Miles and Pert came on for Jordan and Vincent and the game became more open now with fewer penalties being conceded leading to more enjoyable encounter.
Coalville were getting into their stride and with minutes remaining they created one last chance.
Crucially the home defence were clever enough to close of the channel to centre field and forced them to score far out near the touchline.
As the crowd held their breath again the conversion looked to be going over but at the last moment it veered right and hit the post.
Kesteven held the lead at 21–20 and were delighted when, at the very last moment, Coalville were penalised and Galloway was able to kick the ball out to bring the game to an end.
KESTEVEN: Whitaker, Jordan, Goodrich, Cann, Hughes, Galloway, Wood, Pirie, Ward, Purvis, Turner, Vincent, Armstrong, Butler, Stokes; Replacements: Miles, Pert, Parker.