Improving Rasen see off Spalding in derby clash
Market Rasen & Louth continued their progress in the Midlands One East with a strong 35-13 win over Spalding.
The Red & Greens were too efficient for the visitors and made hay in the first quarter by racing into a 17-3 lead.
Chris Green scampered in at the corner to open the scoring in the seventh minute.
Rasen maintained the pressure and were awarded a penalty three minutes later when Spalding lock Mark Haighton earned himself a yellow card for playing a man without the ball.
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The penalty was safely dispatched to touch and the pack prepared to unleash another deadly catch and drive.
The routine worked perfectly with number eight Ben Chamberlin driven over the line to increase the lead and fly half Meehal Grint extended it with a successful conversion.
The visitors then temporarily lost their focus as indiscipline set in as Spalding moved to within kicking distance of the Rasen posts with a series of quick tap penalties.
Fly half Dave Hankinson took his chance and slotted the penalty kick to open his side's account.
However, the Red & Greens made a swift riposte as the Rasen eight destroyed a Spalding scrum and earned a turnover put in.
The ball was taken blind and Karl Ward ghosted up from full back to cross the whitewash.
With a two score cushion Rasen then switched off again as Spalding upped their game and went on the offensive.
A drive to the line was halted illegally and Grint trudged off the field for a ten minute break as Hankinson landed his second penalty.
Moments later Rasen hands in a ruck gave Hankinson another penalty chance, but his sure foot deserted him and the kick sailed wide.
Rasen's problems mounted following a handling mix-up in the reshuffled backline that was the prelude to skipper Dave Starling receiving a yellow card to leave his side with only 13 players on the pitch.
To the crowd's disbelief Hankinson fluffed another kick, but Spalding continued to lay siege to the Rasen line until the close of the half.
Spalding began the second half strongly and finally created an overlap for winger Harry Harrison to score wide out.
Hankinson then banished his kicking demons with a superbly struck conversion to reduce the deficit to only four points.
Rasen came back as Green was narrowly beaten to a touchdown chasing Grint's well placed kick, but Spalding's respite was short-lived.
Hankinson incurred the referee's wrath and received a yellow card giving Grint a simple penalty to extend the lead.
The Red & Greens were unable to capitalise on their numerical superiority as a lack of discipline and precision at key moments brought promising passages of play to a grinding halt.
It was a further 19 minutes on from the previous kick before Grint landed another penalty to widen the gap to potentially snatch a losing bonus point from the grasp of the home side.
The power of the Rasen forwards was taking its toll on their counterparts as lock Will Thornes pounced on a loose ball and powered his way to the line to put the result beyond doubt with four minutes remaining.
Grint added the conversion to put the icing on the cake, but Rasen were not done yet.
In the dying seconds, a Spalding lineout was overthrown and Dave Starling hacked it on.
He then demonstrated some classy soccer skills to control the ball before diving on it and silencing the previously ebullient home fans.
Rasen: C. Starling, Ashton, Cole, Mills, Thornes, L. Dearden, D. Starling, Chamberlin, Starling M, Grint, P. Everton, Bemrose, Edell, Green, Ward. Subs: (used) Bullivant (not used) Crowe, Routledge
Spalding: Ioannou, Lake, Shakespeare, Haighton, Duerden E, Williams, Scotney, Brown, Winch, Hankinson, Childs, Chappell, Lithgow, Harrison, Williamson. Subs: Adams, Coates, T. Duerden
This weekend, Peterborough are the visitors to Willingham Road for a 3pm kick off.
The visitors arrive fresh from a win over Newark and sit one place below Rasen.