Market Rasen & Louth 1sts 55
Bakewell Mannerians 1sts 14
Mannerians claimed a 2-0 victory in the scrums and won the middle 50 minutes of this game 14-0, but the remainder is best forgotten.
For the first 15 minutes, Mannerians literally didn’t touch the ball. From the kick off, there was no respite for Max Crampton’s men.
Some of the Rasen scores may have been dubious in their execution, but the fact is they earned their good positions.
After 15 minutes, Mannerians were roughly five tries and quite a few conversions behind and it looked like a torrid afternoon in the Lincolnshire mud.
Then, Rob Wells put a big tackle in. The impressive Ben Sizer did the same. Then Ethan Bagshawe. And Mannerians realised they had no need to be overawed by their large, efficient opponents.
Much of Rasen’s success had come from the catch and drive from the lineout. So the fearless Sizer decreed that no longer would they get it started and his efforts were successful.
The Bakewell pack took their first strike against the head and Ben Hopkinson ran at the home pack. Wells and Jack Duncan exploited a rare weakness in the Rasen centres and Hopkinson crashed over. Will Moroney converted.
Mannerians’ back three – John Moroney, Tom Crapper and Tom Oldfield – began to run the ball back at the home side and Alistair Gregory and Tom Spencer were always up in support. The front row of Crampton, Sean Driscoll and Martin Pearce conspired for the elastic Driscoll to nick another against the head and Will Moroney hoofed his side into Market Rasen territory. The visitors swarmed forward, Will Moroney gathered a difficult pass with precision, the inevitable Wells produced a textbook ‘draw and pass’ and Dan Driscoll was on hand to claim the try. Moroney’s conversion ended the half.
The first 30 minutes of the second period saw Mannerians contain and occasionally dominate the league leaders, but, try as they might, the tries just wouldn’t come.
Mannerians worked a three-on-two overlap. Typically, the last pass was intercepted and Rasen sped away to score.
Two more scores came as Mannerians’ heads dropped and the impressive Rasen machine marched on again.
Skipper Max Crampton was critical of the early tackling. “I know we suffer from a lack of facilities and the horrendous state of the pitches, which means we’ve simply not been able to have full training sessions for some time, but there is no excuse for not doing the basics.”
Manager Joe Oldfield agreed with Crampton’s verdict, but did draw on the game’s few positives. “Wellsy was man of the match without question. His timing of the pass, work rate and tackling were impressive. And Ben Sizer is in the form of his life, he just doesn’t have a bad game.”
The fact that he always finishes a game battered just shows how much oppositions hate to play against him.
“I agree with Max’s assessment of the training situation, and we’ll do whatever we can to address it. But there are other issues. We’ve got a shocking injury list, we’ve had players leave the country, and it’s a credit to the lads that have come in that they’re competing well at Level 7 without the infrastructure and strength in depth that clubs like Market Rasen enjoy.”