Notts Pennant League
Kesteven 2nd 26
Notts GEMS 29
With the first team not in action, it was left to Kesteven’s second string to take centre stage.
The side was a true mix of youth and experience, with an age range of 33 years between oldest and youngest.
The home side took a little time to settle so GEMS had the better of the early play. They opened the coring with a penalty before the home side found their feet.
Kesteven gradually got into the game and were moving the ball well. Joe Brighten at scrum half was excellent at getting the ball out to the backs and Martyn Parker varied the play well with some neat kicks.
Kesteven won possession out on the right and sharp passing set Harry Cox free on the wing, and the youngster sped through to score in the corner. Parker converted with a great kick to give the home side the lead.
The visitors replied with a converted try just before the break.
In the second half, GEMS were quick to extend their lead with another try which was converted.
The Kesteven pack were getting on top with Will Pert continuing to learn the dark arts of the front row and youngsers Sam Webster and Harvey Fuller making their debuts alongside Colts Callum Scuffham and Chris Warden. Richard Midgely joined the fray and his direct running caused the visiting defence problems.
Keith Tapson on the wing had a good run to the corner and was just bundled into touch. From the lineout the GEMS defence got into a tangle behind their own line and Will Pert was on hand to drop on the ball to score.
As so often happens, the team which had just scored then gave away a try at the other end. This time Ks failed to deal with the restart. GEMS got the ball and ran in a simple try.
Still, Kesteven were not finished and again took play up to the GEMS line. A line-out close to the GEMS line was won by Ks and they executed a perfect rolling maul which ended with Will Pert scoring his second try.
Parker converted after a remarkable piece of sportsmanship from GEMS. Parker was having difficult in placing the ball for the conversion and so a GEMS player raced out from his line and held the ball for him. Parker gratefully slotted the conversion to narrow the gap to three points.
Kesteven continued to press for the winner but it was GEMS who scored next. A home attack broke down in the GEMS half and the visitors quickly capitalised to run in a good try which was converted to extend the lead to 10 points.
This new Kesteven side, however, would fight to the end and pressed GEMS back in their own 22. They won a scrum and GEMS were adjudged to have prevented a push over, with the referee awarding a penalty try. Parker’s conversion brought proceedings to a close with Kesteven falling just three points short.
Kesteven: Hall, Cox, Windsor, Tapson, Parker, Brighten, Mawby, Ward, Pert, Cowley, Webster, Warden, Scuffham, Fuller, Roughan, Midgely, Cheetham, Hanson.