RUGBY: Kesteven return to winning ways against league leaders

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Midlands League 2

East (North)

Kesteven 33

Ashbourne 13

Kesteven were almost back to full strength for the visit of league leaders Ashbourne but were on the back foot as the heavy visiting pack took control.

The home side defended well but a loose clearance kick failed to find touch and Ashbourne took full advantage by running the ball back and evading tackles to run in for the opening try. The conversion attempt was successful.

Ks worked themselves into the Ashbourne 22, recycling the ball well. Adam Draper collected the ball from a ruck on the 22 but found little on. He popped a deft kick through to the corner and Keiran Taylor read it well to chase past the startled defence and score. Harland’s conversion hit the post and stayed out.

Ashbourne became frustrated and started to concede a number of penalties. Harland drilled one such award between the sticks to edge the home side into the lead after 30 minutes.

It soon got better as a long clearance from the visitors found Taylor on the wing. He moved infield and found Whittaker in support, and with room to spare. The young full back used his pace to run clear to score at the posts. Harland converted.

This stung Ashbourne and they forced play into the home 22. Kesteven stopped the attack illegally and Ashbourne popped over the resulting penalty to cut the deficit to five points.

The home team again went on the attack and won a further penalty. Harland’s kick hit the post for the second time.

The charging Kesteven pack was up quickly and won the ball, moving it well in the backs, but they could not find a way through. Will Cann however saw that nothing else was on and dropped a neat goal to make the half time score 18-10.

The second half proved a tighter affair at first. Ashbourne as expected had more territory but the Kesteven defence held up well. The tackling was strong and all they conceded was a penalty to again narrow the gap to five points.

That was as close as it got. Cann added a penalty to take the game two scores away from Ashbourne.

James Goodrich came on to play the last 10 minutes in the back row. He was influential in providing the scoring pass for Bradley after an exhilarating bout of quick handling. Cann’s conversion attempt was charged down.

Kesteven attacked straight from the restart, taking play back into the Ashbourne half. Cann released man-of-the-match Bradley who neatly chipped over the full back to gather at pace and race in for his second try in as many minutes. This earned an impressive bonus point win and Cann added the extra points.

Kesteven: Whittaker, Taylor, Bradley, Cann, Ingram, Harland, Draper, Sheardown, Hayward, Cowley, Sayle, Carew, Webster, Woolerton, Turner. Reps: Pert, Goodrich, Purvis.