Market Rasen and Louth RFC bury Casuals with seven-try haul

Market Rasen and Louth avenged a dismal away defeat to crush relegation-threatened Nottingham Casuals with some quality running rugby.

George Grant's two scores took the Red and Greens to an early bonus point. Picture: Jon Staves EMN-200903-093220002

For the second week running Rasen struggled in the set-piece scrum, but ultimately their superior fitness won out as their opponents fatigued.

Some of the back play was mesmerising, with handling out of the top drawer, ending with some clinical finishing as the hosts showed the Nottingham side why there is a 37-point gap between the two sides in the table.

It took Rasen only four minutes to open the scoring when a patient build-up from the forwards was finished off by some slick handling by the backs, Ben Young arriving on the outside to literally splash down in the corner.

Ben Young got the Rasen bandwagon rolling with the opening two tries. Picture: Jon Staves EMN-200903-093233002

Three minutes later revitalised skipper Ben Chamberlin led the way with an interception.

Prop Matt Ashton was in close support to take play on before linking with Adam Goodwin whose pace took him down the touchline before a perfectly-timed pass back inside gave Young his second score.

Spen Holvey added the conversion.

But Casuals gained a foothold and monopolised possession for the next quarter-of-an-hour.

Prop Matt Ashton rounded off the seven-try demolition. Picture: Jon Staves EMN-200903-093245002

They turned down chances to put points on the board through kickable penalties, instead preferring to use their forwards who were gaining the upper hand in the set piece, but were found wanting when it mattered.

An attacking five-metre scrum looked tailor-made for the visitors, but Rasen found the wherewithal to counter it and win a relieving penalty.

Against the run of play, Young broke out of defence with a powerful run to set the hosts on the attack again.

Playing through the phases, Chamberlin then took play down the blindside, hugging the touchline in the Casuals 22 before his lock partner George Grant angled his inside run to take the scoring pass and charge in under the posts.

Holvey slotted the conversion and Rasen appeared to have broken the shackles, but Casuals were soon back deep in Red and Green territory.

The once impregnable defence was now vulnerable approaching half-time, and strong running saw flanker Clement Chardin burst through to give the visitors hope of a revival.

Mark Higgins added the conversion as Rasen ended the half with a 19–7 advantage.

The second half couldn’t have started worse for Casuals, or better for Rasen.

The visitors fielded the restart and began to work their way upfield through their forwards, but after laying a solid platform, Casuals decided to run from deep, and Rasen pressure forced a catalogue of errors.

The ball spilled loose under their own posts where a grateful Grant touched down to secure the try bonus point.

Holvey made no mistake with the simple conversion and from then on it was plain sailing against demoralised opponents.

Chris Everton, brought on at half-time for Ed Nicholls, made a scrum-half snipe through a gap close to a ruck before linking with the supercharged Chamberlin.

He then received the ball back from his skipper to finish off the move he initiated.

Rasen made full use of the wind advantage by unleashing long kicks to keep Casuals on the turn and forcing them to attack from deep.

From one such kick, Rasen’s pressure was too much as they quickly regained possession to put winger Will Pridgeon away for another score.

The hosts were relentless, and despite putting in a shift in the front row, Ashton still had the energy and nimble feet to dart through Casuals defence and dot down under the posts for Rasen’s seventh and final try.

Holvey, who had been deserving of a try after several strong runs from full-back, increased his points tally with another conversion.

With 16 minutes to play, Rasen took their foot off the gas and were not as clinical, while Casuals found a new burst of energy, opting to run penalties in a lost cause. The game ended with Rasen conceding a series of penalties and Casuals deep in their hosts’ half, but unable to capitalise.

There is another break in the fixtures this weekend, and Rasen return to league action on Saturday, March 21 at Ashbourne.

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