Midlands League 3
Kesteven travelled into Nottinghamshire for the return fixture against Ashfield knowing that a bonus point win would earn them promotion.
It was a cold but dry day as Kesteven took the field. Changes in the pack saw Pert, Vincent and Woolerton return while there was a settled look about the back division.
The visitors were on the front foot early on and soon opened the scoring. A delighted Leo Vincent was first on the scoresheet, finishing off a classic lineout drive after 10 minutes.
Backs and forwards were playing their now well-established brand of open rugby and the tries came at regular intervals. Cowley was next to score, finishing off a move involving Vincent and Draper. A couple of minutes later Vincent was again there to send in Turner for his try from 75m.
Whittaker converted before Ashfield took advantage of some poor Kesteven defence to open their account with a converted try.
This set-back merely spurred Kesteven on and they finished off the half strongly. First Draper sent Goodrich in for the bonus point try, then Hughes got over just before the break. Whittaker converted the latter to take the half time score to 31-7.
In the final minutes of the half, Purvis retired with an injury to be replaced by Bloodworth and there was just time for Ashfield to lose a player to the sin bin for a high tackle on Miles.
Kesteven took advantage of the extra man to score quickly in the second half. Parker reacted quickly to finish off a move involving Hughes and Draper with Justin Dingley providing the final pass, and again Whittaker added the extras. Turner added his second try shortly after.
Draper then made an initial break before passing to Justin Dingley who fended off three would-be tacklers for a great try.
Curtis Dingley came on to replace Martin Parker and quickly added his contribution with a try set up by Turner. Ben Hall came on for his first team debut replacing Vincent who had had a very productive match.
The final 10 minutes saw Goodrich, Justin Dingley and Bloodworth add tries and, with Whittaker converting two of these for an impressive return of nine out of 12, Kesteven came away the all important bonus point win which secured promotion with three matches left.
Kesteven: Whittaker, Miles, Dingley, Goodrich, Hughes, Parker, Draper, Osborne, Sheardown, Purvis, Pert, Cowley, Vincent, Wooleron, Turner. Reps: Dingley, Hall, Bloodworth.
Kesteven 2nd 24
Long Eaton 2nd 17
Early exchanges proved to be quite even and then fom a lineout close to the Long Eaton line, the ball was won by Kesteven and the pack rolled the ball over the line. Frankie Davies was credited with the touchdown.
This started a frantic couple of minutes as Kesteven quickly added to their tally when Sam Danford broke away from the restart. Smart passing saw Rupert Jordan run in under the posts for a try which was converted by Brister.
Will Wood took possession from the next restart and raced away clear to score a third try.
Long Eaton however regrouped and tightened up their defence. They put in one speculative kick to the corner. Betts looked to have it covered but the following up winger was judged to have got the first touch to score the try. The conversion with the last kick of the half narrowed gap to 17-7.
The visitors added to their tally with a second try after a good run down the wing. Kesteven, however, dug deep and again got on top.
Kesteven need another score to secure the win and it came as the pack again made inroads into the visiting half to send Peabody in for the try. Tom Price popped over the conversion.
Still Long Eaton came back and had the last word with a final try in the last minute.
Kesteven: Jordan, Betts, Cooper, Windsor, Charles, Brister, Danford, Mawby, Ward, Davies, Hanson, Durham, Spencer, Mylton, Peabody. Reps: Warden, Wood, Price.