RUGBY: Kesteven win over Mellish more convincing than score suggests

Aaron Whittaker (right) relied on Mellish's loose possession to help Kesteven to victory at Woodnook on Saturday. Photo: 038C
Aaron Whittaker (right) relied on Mellish's loose possession to help Kesteven to victory at Woodnook on Saturday. Photo: 038C
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Midlands League 3

East (North)

Kesteven 20

Mellish 12

KESTEVEN started off after their three week break showing signs of rustiness as they sought to continue tbeir successful run in the league.

Their plan was to continue to get the ball out wide and, as in the previous match before Christmas, this led to their undoing as Mellish plundered a try from an interception after five minutes.

The lively Kesteven pack, although heavily outweighed, were quicker about the park and this led to the home side taking the lead shortly after. A back row move down the left touchline and slick handling saw Jamie Flear go over, for Grant Ward to convert.

This should have settled the home side but there was a sense of deja vu as Mellish repeated their earlier act with a second interception. This time the conversion was good and the visitors led 12-7.

Kesteven still tried to play to their strength and used the wide spaces well. Matt Harland and Danny Turner kept putting the ball behind the visitors’ defence and it was a kick by Turner that led to the next try. The kick was deep into the corner and Bradley and Ward were both up in support. It was Bradley who gathered the ball to score and tie the scores going into the break.

The early stages of the second half got bogged down as the strong Mellish pack won some good possession, but the visiting backs were not able to use it. Turner was unlucky to be sin-binned for some over vigorous rucking but Mellish were unable to take advatage. Wood and Midgley came on to replace Lines and Flear.

Mellish turned down a simple penalty in front of the posts in favour of a scrum but were unable again to capitalise on it. This was to prove costly as five minutes later Kesteven won a penalty of their own. Ward stepped up for the three points.

This seemed to settle the issue as Kesteven gained control. Dan Turner completed the scoring when he snapped up a loose ball 40 metres out to run in for the clinching score.

Kesteven’s victory was more convincing than the score might suggest. The mobility of the young home pack of forwards, for whom Woolerton was outstanding, kept the heavy Mellish pack moving around. The Mellish defence, however, made Kesteven work hard. Ward, Jordan and Whittaker had to rely on loose possession to run back. Whittaker in particular was as lively as ever.

Kesteven: Whittaker, Ward, Bradley, Goodrich, P. Jordan, Harland, Lines, Odams, Brown, Cowley, Pert, Durrance, Flear, D. Turner, Woolerton. Reps: Wood, Midgely, Sayle.