Notts Pennant League
Creswell Crusaders 10
Kesteven 2nd 18
Kesteven 2nd travelled up the A1 to face Derbyshire side Creswell Crusaders who were playing their first game at their new ground.
Sixteen players made the journey including senior debutant Henry Parker, having turned 17 just the day before, playing alongside club stalwart and father Martyn Parker who was making his 400th appearance for the club.
The home side had a strong squad for the occasion, with a sizeable crowd on the touchline.
A small pitch with difficult pitch conditions played a part in determining the pattern of the game.
Creswell made a strong start and forced Kesteven into mistakes from the kick-off. Their big imposing pack utilised the ball well, driving their way over next to the posts, and adding the extras.
The home side went again and extended their lead after desperate defence from Kesteven gave away a penalty close to their line. At 10-0 down after five minutes, it looked like it could be a long afternoon for the visitors.
However, Kesteven showed their resilience to play their back into the game. With patient forward play and a series of penalties, they got on the scoreboard through Rob Windsor who made a sharp break from the base of a ruck. Kicking conditions proved challenging and the conversion attempt sailed just wide.
Kesteven raised their game and forced Creswell into conceding penalties. The visitors took one such penalty quickly. The ball made its way to the backs and a swift pass from Parker Snr to Parker Jnr was finished fantastically in the corner to provide the moment of the match.
The conversion fell just short and, although the scoreline was now tied, Ks were in the ascendancy.
A clearing kick downfield was chased hard, and some great pressure forced a mistake that Warden pounced upon to race away and dive over in the corner. High winds took Whinney’s conversion just wide, but he made up for his misses by slotting a relatively simple penalty to take Kesteven 18-10 up going into the break.
In the second half, Kesteven had the majority of possession and territory but they could not make it over the line. When Creswell did attack, strong and agressive defence from Kesteven shut the door to the home side’s big runners.
Despite several chances, neither side added to the score in the second half and the game finished 18-10 to Kesteven.
This was another excellent performance from Kesteven 2nd against a strong home side who struggled to break down the visitors’ defence. It was particularly pleasing to see eight of this year’s successful Colts side playing alongside more seasoned senior players in a classic blend of youth and experience. This was epitomised by the Jnr-Snr combination in a memorable day for the Parker family.
Kesteven: Windsor, Charles, Vincent, Bailey, Singer, Warden, Danford, Fuller, Brighten, Parker Snr, Parker Jnr, Jordan, Brewis, Whinney, Udom, Barnes.