Midlands League 3
Kesteven welcomed Birstall from Leicester for their first visit to Woodnook, with the early rain giving way to a fine afternoon.
The home side made a number of changes with Lines coming in at scrum half, while Turner moved in to centre. Pirie and Vincent came into the back row.
The first half was a closely fought affair. Galloway was looking lively and kept Birstall pinned back with some good kicks. He also was quick to spot the gap and shot through to score at the posts. He added the conversion and Kesteven looked good for their lead.
Birstall kept in the game and soon drew level with a simple try. Their number eight broke away from a scrum in midfield to level the scores.
Kesteven were unlucky with injuries as Galloway left the field with a hand injury. Cann came on as replacement, then shortly after Cann retired with an injury also. Tweddle came on, leading to a reshuffle which saw Cowley move out to centre.
Kesteven were getting on top and Turner went off on a great run, but he was pulled back for an obstruction.
Just on half time, there was a piece of magic from the backs. Slick handling from Turner and quick passing from Price saw Harry Cox set free on the wing. The youngster is growing in confidence and ran round his opposite number to score at the posts. In the last act of the half, Price’s conversion took the half time score to 14-7.
The second half started well as Kesteven raised their game. They won good ball and Turner threw a huge pass out to Cox who again ran in the try, before Price again converted.
The bonus point try followed shortly afterwards. Kesteven won a scrum on the 22 and Lines worked the blind side and found Turner in the clear to score.
The visitors visibly tired and Kesteven were able to see the game out. They added two more tries, first from Pirie from close range, and then a thrilling run from Price who broke clear on the left and used Cox as a decoy to run in for another five points.
Kesteven rang the changes as Stedman was replaced by Brown, and Vincent, who had put in a power of work, was replaced by Cann. There were some excellent performances, like Cowley in the unusual position in the backs, plus Pert had some rumbustious runs with the ball. Cox was man of the match for his two great tries.
Kesteven: Price, Palin, Turner, Brewis, Cox, Galloway, Lines, Stedman, Sheardown, Purvis, Pert, Cowley, Vincent, Armstrong, Pirie. Reps: Tweddle, Brown, Cann.
Notts Pennant League
Castle Donington 36
Kesteven 2nd 31
Phil Jordan captained Saturday’s side but tries from himself Warden (2) and H. Parker (2) were not enough for Kesteven 2nd to secure victory on the road.
The first 10 minutes proved to be a tight affair with both sides making unforced errors, leading to possession changing hands several times. The deadlock was broken soon after as Warden dived over to grab his first score. Whinney converted and Ks had the lead.
Donington quickly grabbed back a score of their own, but failed to convert.
After a debut try against Cresswell, Henry Parker crossed over twice either side of a Castle Donington score to grab his brace, carving through the home side’s back line on both occasions to finish under the posts and just in the corner. Whinney converted one of Parker’s two.
The home side scored again, utilising their large forward pack to drive up the middle and eventually over the line.
Ks replied with a superb interception from Jordan, reading the back line play cleverly meant he could stroll in relatively unchallenged, extending Kesteven’s lead to 26-17 after Whinney’s conversion.
But again, Donington replied through two forward-made scores to take a slender lead going into the final stages of the match; and after Ks lost Barnes to injury, as well as Martyn Parker, the closing stages looked like being tough for Kesteven.
The lead changed hands yet again when as Warden made use of a quickly taken penalty to smash his way over, flooring the home defenders to grab his second try. Whinney’s conversion drifted wide to leave Ks just a slender two-point lead.
From the restart, Castle Donington again used their huge pack to maul their way downfield, taking them to within touching distance of the Kesteven line. A sniping dive from the Donington flanker looked as though he had grabbed the final score, but superb work from Udom held him up. However. the referee awarded the try which was also converted.
Ks had seconds to grab a late late score, but a poor restart meant the ball bounced out, handing the home side the win.
Kesteven: Bennett, Warden, Barnes, Bailey, King, Chessum, Windsor, Fuller, Whinney, M. Parker, Burns, Jordan, H. Parker, Eagle, Udom.