RUGBY: Kesteven defeated after losing early advantage

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Midlands League 3

East (North)

Birstall 43

Kesteven 29

Kesteven made the journey to Leicester to meet Birstall and took some time to settle.

Birstall opened the scoring with an unconverted try but Kesteven took the lead shortly after when Cowley latched on to a break by Lines to score. Captain Gav Purvis took charge of the conversion and added the goal points from far out.

Ks were not able to impose themselves on the game and were unable to stop the home side running in three more tries before half time to earn an early bonus. Kesteven had the last word in the half when Purvis put Cowley in for his second. This time Halliday added the conversion to take the half time score to 24-14.

The second half saw Kesteven introduce Sam Stedman for his debut and Ks narrowed the gap to three points when Cowley completed his hat trick with a fine try after great work by Betts. Halliday again kicked the goal points – before Birstall extended their lead with another try.

Halliday added a penalty to keep them in the game but Birstall were not to be denied. They scored a further converted try – before Tom Miles used his speed to run in Kesteven’s bonus point try.

Birstall had the last word by running in a final try to take the score to to win comfortably.

Kesteven finished well and their second half performance was rewarded with the bonus point. Cowley was rightly awarded man of the match for his great hat trick, while captain Purvis found a new skill with his conversion.

This week Kesteven have a free week before they welcome Long Eaton on December 2.

Kesteven: Hall, Betts, Miles, Stokes, Cox, Halliday, Lines, Pert, Sheardown, Purvis, Hanson, Cowley, Vincent, Armstrong, Webster. Reps: Stedman, Windsor, Price.

Notts Pennant League

Kesteven 2nd 56

Castle Donington 10

Fresh from their impressive win against Melbourne, Kesteven welcomed Castle Donington to Woodnook.

The visitors arrived shorthanded but in the true spirit of rugby Kesteven bolstered the visitors to even up the sides. The result was a hugely entertaining match enjoyed by two teams who wanted to play.

The first half was played at a good pace and resulted in three good tries to the home side. First to score was Josh Udom who is adjusting to senior rugby very well. He finished off a good three-quarter move to go in under the posts. This was followed by a neat dummy and break from Martyn Parker.

Ian Charles, guesting for the visitors, showed a great turn of speed to outpace the home defence to score before Ks had a strong candidate for try of the season.

Phil Jordan made a clean break from his own 22. He found Parker in support and the pair exchanged passes before sending Harvey Fuller on a run to the line. The wing turned inside and, as he was caught, he found Chris Warden up in support to score.

Kesteven started the second half with some good interplay between forwards and backs. This created space for some long distance tries. One came from Charles, back in Kesteven colours and having the distinction to score for both teams. Udom ran in a second, followed by Fuller and Cole who ran strongly.

Donington scored a second but the afternoon belonged to Kesteven and Joe Brighten rounded it off with the eighth try. Martyn Parker completed a perfect goal kicking performance by converting all eight tries.

Kesteven: Moore, Charles, King, Udom Barnes, Jordan, Brighten, Bennett, Cole Mawby, Robinson, Nicholson, Warden, Fuller.

Under-14

Mellish 12

Kesteven 29

Kesteven faced Mellish on a bright sunny autumn morning, hoping to build on their emphatic win over Boston in the NLD Shield.

The black army started strongly when Hamish Robinson took a quick tap penalty from five metres out and powered his way over the try line, followed by a brilliant conversion from Ollie Coyle. Kesteven added a second try when Finn Wood fed a pass to Luca Cenci who drove through Mellish tacklers to go over to give Ks a 12-0 lead.

Kesteven played with great width, allowing wings Phil Douglas and Scott Vukeiono to make some great yardage. They continued to go through the phases and eventually Edward Collins evaded a couple of tackles to register his first try of the season and Kesteven’s third of the match. Ks led 17-0 at the break.

Mellish started the second half the stronger when their replacement back row forward swatted aside Kesteven tacklers to score immediately after the interval.

Kesteven responded well and after a Mellish knock-on, Coyle was released in space and sprinted from inside his own half to score under the posts and convert his own try.

Mellish came straight back and their left winger found himself in space and looked certain to score but a brilliant last ditch tackle from full back Dan Addlesee saved the day for Ks.

Mellish kept on knocking at the door but strong Kesteven defence forced errors from the home side, but they were awarded for their efforts when they eventually forced their way over for their second try of the match, and successfully added the extras to make the score 24-12 with five minutes left.

From the resulting kick-off, Kesteven were awarded a scrum after Mellish knocked on in their own 22, and were awarded a free kick. Alfie Carrington, now at scrum half, tapped quickly and the ball was fed to Addlesee who darted over in the corner to put the game beyond any doubt.

There were some notable performances from Kesteven. Lawrence Ford-Pain made some storming carries, Vukeiono looked sharp on the wing, Cenci showed great workrate around the field, Coyle was always a threat in attack, and Carrington put his body on the line in defence, but man of the match went to Addlesee who made ground every time he got the ball and tackled anything that came his way.

Ks now await Chesterfield in the NLD Shield semi-final at Woodnook on December 10.