Midlands League 3
The early morning frost lifted in time for this match to go ahead. The pitch was firm in places as Grimsby kicked off.
The match got off to a whirlwind start with Grimsby opening the scoring after just four minutes with a penalty.
The lead lasted for just a minute as Kesteven took control of the restart. Turner got possession and with a deft flick he offloaded to Tom Miles for the young wing to use his strength to run in from the 22.
Grimsby then got back in the Kesteven half and missed with two straightforward penalties – and the game was barely 10 minutes old.
Kesteven at last got a grip on the match with some good work by the pack. Purvis, Pert and Turner were prominent but all their possession just did not produce the score.
Ten minutes from half time though saw Kesteven add to their lead. A penalty 10 metres out was taken quickly by Sheardown and he found Purvis on his elbow to take the pass and crash over for the second try and a useful 10-3 lead at the break.
Grimsby started the second half with a bang. They gathered the restart kick and got the ball out wide to their left wing. He ran strongly to score in the corner to narrow the gap to two points.
The Kesteven reaction was good and when Grimsby were caught offside in their 22, Whittaker stepped up to take the three points on offer.
Grimsby then took the game to Kesteven and spent a good spell testing the home defence. Turner was sent to the sin bin when the referee lost patience with the number of penalties being conceded by Kesteven.
During his absence, Grimsby hammered at the Kesteven line but the home defence held firm and eventually relieved the siege.
Tom Webster made a welcome return to the side as a replacement for Pert and he was intent on showing that his absence through injury had led to a release of some pent up frustration.
Turner returned with 18 minutes left and had a decisive impact on the remainder of the match. He made one fine run up the touchline, then a further break. His off lead looked to have set up a try but the referee judged the final pass to be forward.
From the resulting scrum Grimsby were penalised for not straight and Turner took a quick tap to go over for the try, as the Grimsby defence slept. Whittaker added the conversion to complete the scoring.
There was still time for Grimsby to try to recover but all they had to show was a missed penalty at the end, while Kesteven were unfortunate to lose Dent to a serious leg injury.
Kesteven: Whittaker, Miles, Draper, Goodrich, Hughes, Parker, Wood, Osborne, Sheardown, Purvis, Tweddle, Pert, Dent, Sayle, Turner. Reps: Taylor, Webster, Dingley.
+ This week Kesteven travel to Sleaford for their return fixture.
Kesteven travelled to Bourne on Sunday for a three-way fixture, with Spalding making up the trio.
Bourne were the first opponents with Kesteven feeling confident following a 50 point winning margin earlier in the season. It turned out to be no indicator for this tussle, as Bourne’s forwards had clearly been drilled very well and had a significant weight advantage in the scrums.
Kesteven therefore were on the back foot throughout, gaining possession only through fierce defence and turning over Bourne’s superior set-piece possession. The importance of defence became evident for the first try when Bourne spilled the ball, allowing scrum half Brighten and second row Hodgson to combine in a handling movement which saw winger Palin beat two defenders to score under the posts.
From the restart, Kwasau took the ball into contact, drawing several defenders before releasing centre Edwards with a superb offload which he took from 20 yards out and battered his way through determined defence for a second score.
The hard fought victory was complete when captain Taylor carried hard into the Bourne pack, supported by flanker Cox who made sufficient ground for Brighten once again to link with Palin whose score make it 19 unanswered Kesteven points.
The second opponents of the morning from Spalding were certainly a more aggressive and rounded team, in that they had a good set of backs to complement their feisty pack.
The game was never going to be high scoring with continued penalties and infringements from both sides.
The arm-wrestling continued for the whole game until Kesteven’s pressure built and a desperate Spalding hand was deemed by the referee to be a deliberate act, denying powerful winger Parr a certain try, and Kesteven were awarded a penalty try.
Back row forward Fuller carried the ball strongly throughout, bettering the Spalding pack, with Brewis leading the defence from fly half. Both teams were glad to hear the final whistle as the bruising encounter saw Kesteven claim their second victory of the morning.
Kesteven: Archer, Brighten, Brewis, B. Cole, J. Cole, Cox, Edwards, Fuller, Hodgson, Hughes, Kwasau, Moth, Palin, Parr, Peters, Salam, Tapson, Taylor.