Midlands League 3 East (North)
This mid-season clash between the second and third placed teams had been built up as a crucial game, with both teams supporting promotion ambitions.
It was clear to Kesteven that Lincoln were both highly motivated and well organised with a talented squad. Kesteven, however, have come too far this season to surrender games just because they get a little difficult.
And this fixture proved to get a little difficult very quickly. Lincoln had a strong scrum and proved powerful in the loose. However, it was off first phase ball that Lincoln opened the scoring with a well-executed backs move putting their dangerous full back in to score on the 12th minute.
Kesteven rallied after this rude awakening and started to find their game with strong carries in the open play, from the forwards and from centre. After working their way into the 22, Ks spurned a couple of penalty opportunities before kicking to the corner to set up a maul. Strong work from the forwards resulted in Purvis spinning his way over the line to bring the scores level.
The home team’s defence were very quick off the line all match but this time the referee spotted that Lincoln were getting a little too over enthusiastic with a late challenge on fly half Parker. The Lincoln forward was given 10 minutes to cool down.
The intensity of the game boiled over into a small scrap on the half hour mark, which resulted in full back Draper and another Lincoln player being yellow carded.
With Lincoln two men down in their pack, Kesteven easily turned over a Lincoln scrum and number eight Turner broke from the base to dot down under the posts on the 34 minute mark. Wood converted to make the score 12-5 to Ks at half time.
Kesteven stepped up their game in the second half, raising the intensity of their phase play and breakdown work to counter the advantage of the wind in their faces.
On the 47th minute, Turner snatched the ball, made a break and neatly offloaded to Lines who crashed through the last man to score. Wood added the extra points.
Lincoln had a very clear weapon all game long, with their back three being dangerous throughout. On the 63rd minute, Kesteven thought they had a Lincoln attack covered with equal numbers in the defensive line, but a missed tackle out wide was well converted into a try.
Ks went back on the offensive, taking play back down into the Lincoln 22. Turner, enjoying a very strong game, found a hole in the home defence and beat the 15 with ease to again score a highly important try under the posts. Wood’s kick was good to take Ks 26-10 up.
In the last minute, Lincoln were awarded a penalty. Using the wind well, they took territory with which they slung out wide to their danger men. Lincoln scored out wide with the last play of the game to take their tally to 15 points.
Turner received man of match for his moments of individual skill and power.
Kesteven now focus on Oundle in the next round of the cup, followed by taking on league leaders Loughborough a week on Saturday.
Ks are just two points adrift of Loughborough, with Lincoln now trailing a further 10 points behind the Black Army.
Kesteven: Odams, Sheardown, Purvis, Pert, Sayle, Webster (c), Lines, Turner, Wood, Parker, Miles, Goodrich, Taylor, Hughes, Draper. Vincent, Armstrong, Dingley.