Midlands League 2
Kesteven kicked off and, in what was always going to be a physical encounter, 10 minutes in Graham Smith left the field with an injured shoulder.
Much of the game was played within Kesteven’s half of the field but they held up very well defensively in the first half.
Belgrave opened their account after 20 minutes with a pick and go from the back of a ruck. The Belgrave prop bumped into one of his team-mates and fell over the line. The conversion successful.
Kesteven continued to defend extremely well but the physicality was taking its toll and Will Cann was the next to leave the field with an injury.
Belgrave continued their strong attack and a clever inside pass saw their centre cross the Kesteven line for their second try.
Both sides were warned about several instances of suspected foul play and it was second team captain Pete Dolan that picked up a resulting yellow card just before half time, with the resulting penalty adding a further three points to the home side’s tally, for a 15-0 half time scoreline.
Early in the second half, while Kesteven were still down to 14 men, Belgrave found themselves rucking and mauling very close to the Kesteven line. Their flanker rolled the ball forward and over the line for the home side’s third try.
Ks’ captain Tom Webster was next to leave the field with a recurring injury. With 15 minutes to go, wing Alex Ingram was forced to leave the field after a barely legal tackle. With the Kesteven bench now used up, and those remaining on it all injured, the visitors had to continue with 14 men.
The match continued in much the same vein with Belgrave finding holes in the tiring 14-man Kesteven defence and totted up a total of five tries in the second half.
Ks did have some opportunities to make ground and move forward, but the home side snuffed out any attacks.
Kesteven: Odams, Dolan, Cowley, Smith (Purvis, 10), Pert, Webster (Epton, 55), Woolerton, Carew, Cann, Cann (Taylor, 25), Jordan, Turner, Goodrich, Ingram (65), Whitaker.
Kesteven’s first home match of 2014 was against a Syston side who have struggled all season with injury.
The visitors showed good attacking endeavour early on to put Kesteven on the back foot and were rewarded with a try after 20 minutes.
Ks responded well and sustained pressure saw Jay Radford held up over the try line.
Ks had the wind and the sun at their backs in the second half and immediately piled the pressure on Syston. Radford went close to scoring again only to be penalised for a double-movement over the try line.
The home side eventually levelled the scores when Tom Priest forced his way over from close range after a quick tap penalty from Alex Wheeler. Wheeler himself then darted over from another tap penalty to give Ks a 10-5 lead. The wind made it difficult for Barnard to convert either try.
Syston were still dangerous on the break and it required excellent defence in midfield from Barnard and Josh Udom to prevent another score from the visitors, but Ks held out to record their fourth win of the season.
Two early breaks up front from Skegness gave them an early lead and when they moved the ball wide, their lightning winger raced away to score under the posts. This was converted to give the visitors a 17-0 lead.
Pirie got Kesteven back into the match through a quick tapped penalty just before half time. Whinney’s conversion attempt came off the cross bar.
Determined to reduce the deficit, Ks did so when Pirie scored his second, and Harry Norsworthy bundled over from short range. Ethan Archer put Kesteven in front.
The final score was the best of the morning. Some great inter-passing up front moved the ball wide where James Simpson to cap the game off with a score on the left flank.
Man of the match went to Harry Norsworthy for his all round link work in both games.
Kesteven: Addlesee, Archer, Cousin, Desmond, Donnelly, Eagle, Green, Kershaw, Knibbs, Moore, Norsworthy, Parker, Pirie, Simpson, Sweeney, Whinney, Wright.