Market Rasen and Louth RFC bounce back with Newark victory

Market Rasen and Louth RFC overcame quagmire conditions and a tricky wind to run out worthy 37-17 winners against Newark after a sticky start.

Muddy Market Rasen and Louth after their Newark victory. Picture: Jon Staves EMN-200203-095313002

Newark began the game with purpose and worked their way upfield through their forwards.

With five minutes elapsed, their patient build-up was rewarded when Rasen’s defence was caught narrow and play was switched to the blind side for hooker Mason Coulam to open the scoring wide out.

Rasen responded quickly and were soon on the attack.

Pete Southwell drives to the line for Rasen's third try. Picture: Jon Staves EMN-200203-095326002

An incisive run from Will Pridgeon, coming off his wing to take an inside pop pass, was halted in the visitors’ 22 by illegal means, and Ben Young punished Newark’s misdemeanour with a well-struck penalty.

A thrust from fly-half Josh White breached the first line of Newark’s defence before Pridgeon took play on again.

As he was stopped, George Grant was in close support to take the scoring pass and power his way over to put Rasen into the lead.

Young’s conversion extended the lead, and seven minutes later an audacious cross-field kick from the outside of Mike Starling’s boot ended with full-back Spencer Holvey winning the race for the touchdown as the ball plopped over the line.

Will Pridgeon capped the scoring. Picture: Jon Staves EMN-200203-095339002

Despite Rasen building their score, Newark were never out of contention at this stage and their set scrum was ominously overpowering the home eight.

After two strong scrums, Rasen found themselves on the backfoot, desperately defending in their own 22, but they were powerless to halt the visitors’ momentum as Coulam crashed over under the posts for his second try.

Alex O’Dell added the conversion to cut Rasen’s lead to 15-12.

The precision which had deserted the hosts the previous weekend returned with a vengeance as a now fully-functioning backline strung together a series of attacks to push

Newark deep into their own territory.

The line hove into view and the forwards took over to inch play ever closer until prop Pete Southwell burrowed his way over the line to give Rasen a half-time advantage of 20-12.

Rasen made the perfect start to the second period, scoring straight from the kick-off after only 34 seconds.

A long run from Pridgeon took Rasen deep into Newark territory before swift hands found Matt Ashton, brought on at half-time as an impact player, who cantered in with his first touch of the ball.

Newark’s promising first half start had evaporated and their play became laboured, particularly as the wind played havoc with some of their attempted long passes.

Following good build-up work, fly-half White’s powerful run brushed aside would-be tacklers as he raced to the line to dot down under the uprights, leaving Young with a simple conversion.

As the gap widened, Newark were literally forced to throw caution to the wind, but that proved their undoing.

As the gusts held up a long pass, Pridgeon picked it off to run in an interception try and put the result beyond doubt with nine minutes remaining.

There was still time for more drama as Newark mounted periods of pressure deep in the Rasen 22.

A yellow card for Jake Pryer helped the visitors’ cause as Rasen were forced to play out the remainder of the game a man down.

Newark’s persistence finally paid off and winger William Charles scored in the corner after the visitors worked an overlap.

Newark waived the conversion attempt in a vain effort to add a fourth try which would have earned a bonus point, but time and Rasen were against them as the final whistle blew.

In problematic conditions, Rasen showed their capabilities, and where last week crucial passes went astray or were delayed, this week the execution was crisper and more accurate to achieve a thoroughly deserved result.

Lessons had clearly been learnt from the previous week and it is to the players’ credit that they put in such a clinical performance to overcome a resurgent Newark side.

On Saturday, Rasen have another home game with a re-arranged fixture against Nottingham Casuals with a 2.15pm kick-off.

Rasen: Crowe, Fenwick (Alldridge), Southwell, Chamberlin, Grant, J. Norton (Ashton, Pryer, McKay, Starling (Everton), White, Young, Goodwin, Berger, Pridgeon, Holvey.