Notts Pennant League
Sleaford 2nd 28
A cautious start saw Kesteven getting a foothold in the Sleaford half with only little reward. It took a good 10 minutes for the breakthough to come and it was Dougie Hayward who crashed over for the try.
A promising move in the Sleaford 22 saw the home side commit a penalty offence only for Ollie Hanson to go down with a reoccurrence of his knee injury. He was replaced by the marauding Richard Midgley. From the resulting restart the ball was worked to Andy Cartwright who finished with his usual ease.
A further try followed before half time from Adam Draper and Ks looked confident.
But Sleaford had other ideas and they came straight back using similar pick and go tactics as employed by Newark the previous week for a hard-earned try of their own.
The bad luck continued for Ks as Hayward took an innocuous looking knock to his eye which soon ballooned into the most impressive of black eyes and ended his game early.
Sleaford tore into the Black Army from the second half kick-off. They soon had Kesteven back pedalling and committing too many penalties. From one penalty, the home side moved the ball in a slick move wide. The final run to the line was halted with a high tackle which resulted in Rob Windsor taking a 10-minute rest and the awarding of a penalty try.
Sleaford made the most of this spell with Ks reduced to 14, spreading the thin defence and scoring a well-worked try.
When back up to a full complement, Kesteven still looked rocky as they made handling errors to gift the home side a further try and bring the scores alarmingly close.
It seemed a moment of inspiration was required and, right on cue, Ben Betts took a short pass from Phil Jordan and broke the first line of defence on his own 10 metre line. Betts made short work of the remaining defender with a combination of side-stepping and pure power, making light of the dangerous Sleafords number eight’s attempted tackle and found his way to the line for a quite spectacular score.
Reinvigorated by this score, Ks now looked to finish Sleaford off, and this they did with consummate ease. Cartwright completed his hat trick for another good performance.
Man of the match was given to Andy Clift-Hill
Kesteven: P. Dolan, Hayward, A. Clift-Hill, Vincent, Hanson, Armstrong, Cole, Peabody, Draper, Jordan, Cartwright, Betts, Aspinall, Ryder, Windsor, Reps: Midgley, Danford, Charles.
Lincs Merit League
Kesteven 3rd 99
Boston 2nd 5
Kesteven fielded a strong third team in honour of Paul Anderson who was playing his last game for the club before moving away from the area. He was given captaincy of the team for the day.
They were shocked as early as the third minute when they conceded a penalty. Boston cleared to half way and won the line-out. The scrum half took clean possession and broke clear to run 50 metres to the line for the opening try without a hand being laid upon him.
This early set-back spurred on the home side and it was appropriate that Anderson opened the scoring. The pack won possession in midfield and Matt Grinney, making his debut at scrum half, set up the three-quarters. Crisp passing saw Anderson clear to score.
This settled the home side and the rest of the half was one-way traffic as Tom Price scored two tries, Anderson a second, Blackley a brace, with James Cheetham and James O’Neil also forcing their way over.
Cheetham’s try was a gem as he read the situation expertly. Price kicked ahead and caused panic in the home defence. As they watched the ball bounce, Cheetham went up to grab the ball at pace to charge over at the posts. Price and Grinney shared the conversions and between them they converted six of these tries for a 52-5 half time score.
Kesteven’s strong running continued in the second half and the tries continued to flow. Price took his tally to four while Anderson and Blackley completed their hat tricks. Makwanna added two and debutant hooker Jordan Payne raced in for a fine score. Price and Grinney added six more conversions.
Kesteven: Blackley, Anderson, Lamb, Makwanna, McAllister, Price, Grinney, Arnold, Payne, Mawby, O’Neil, Jessop, Vincent, Friel, Cheetham. Reps: Bowles, Minter, Corradine, Flear, Peters (Marvin, T. Smith and T. Smith all played for Boston).
Kesteven hosted Skegness on a damp morning at Woodnook with a large squad of 25 players.
Skegness started well and made early inroads into the Kesteven defence through their large pack.
When Kesteven got the ball they looked to move it to their quick players out wide. The wet conditions made handling tricky and the final pass did not quite go to hand.
Eventually Ethan Archer made a break and finished under the posts. Whinney converted. Kesteven grew in confidence as the half went on and they scored further tries through Casey, Eagle and Cousin.
Toby Weston, playing for Skegness, defended well and broke down several of the Kesteven attacks.
Ten changes were made at half time as all the substitutes were brought on and Weston swapped shirts with Jake Wright, who played the second half for Skegness.
But the changes did little to disrupt the momentum Kesteven had established. Archer and Casey both went on to complete hat tricks, their pace and strength being too much for the tiring Skegness defence.
Matt Addlesee crashed over from short range and Jack Pirie scored a trademark try following a rampaging run from the base of the scrum. Skegness pulled a try back when some good handling put their centre away and he beat the covering defence to score under the posts.
Jake Eagle completed the scoring, returning a kick-off and added a great conversion from the left touchline. Weston added four conversions with a good display of kicking, and his overall play for both sides earned him man-of-the-match for the morning.
Boston 5 Kesteven 10
Boston 15 Kesteven 15
Boston 0 Kesteven 15
Kesteven’s large squad had to be split into two, one to to play competitively and one to train because Boston were unable to field two teams.
Ks arrived at a cold, wet but thankfully not windy venue and produced some truly heart-warming rugby.
The first game showed how the training of the new parts of the game that have been introduced at under-10 level for the first time (ruck, maul and the three-man non-contested scrum) were being played effectively by the team and paying dividends.
It was a great match and was fiercely fought by both sides, and great running from inside Ks’ own half saw Harry Robson score both tries, set up by strong tackling from Lil’ Bob and man-of-the-match Hugo.
Game two was again a great game with end-to-end rugby and saw saw Alfie O. score twice and Josh go charging over the line with two Boston players still clinging on to him.
The third game saw Kesteven start to put all their skills together with strong running from Josh, Sylvie, Alfie P. and Alfie O. and tenacious tackling from Hugo. and it was only really good tackling from Boston that prevented a higher winning score.