RUGBY: Town fail to launch as Rasen take derby win

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SPALDING RFC 13 MARKET RASEN & LOUTH 35: TOWN’S season failed to get the shot in the arm it badly needed on Saturday as rivals Rasen and Louth condemned them to a third successive Midlands One East loss.

It was an improved showing from the Spalding side, but they remain one of three sides without a point – and have now lost their opening two home games of the new campaign.

The hosts, who welcomed back Ben Williams, Tom Duerden and Ed Duerden, kicked off with a slight advantage of the breeze on a clear, sunny afternoon.

They were soon behind though, as the visitors won a Spalding scrum and passed the ball along their three-quarters to score in the corner. The conversion missed.

It only took another five minutes before Rasen and Louth were through again to score, leaving an easier conversion for a 12-0 advantage.

Spalding hit back when Dave Hankinson kicked a penalty on 16 minutes, but it failed to spark a fightback.

Their scrum was coming under pressure and again they were wheeled, allowing Rasen in for a third score, which went unconverted.

Once again Town replied after they were awarded a lineout. Tom Duerden broke from the end, but was illegally stopped short of the line.

Hankinson had no problem with the penalty and after 30 minutes, making it 6-17.

In the final ten minutes before the end of the first half Spalding were awarded two more kickable penalties, but Hankinson’s radar was off.

Town were better after the interval. An incisive break through the centre by Ryan Chappell resulted in Spalding being awarded a penalty.

They kicked for touch, won the lineout and came in field, before a scrum was awarded.

The ball flowed along the line to winger Kevin Childs, who used his experience and guile to touch down wide out.

This time Hankinson was spot on and the ball sailed through the uprights to make the score 13-17.

However, two successful Rasen penalties put daylight between the teams again – and all but ended the clash.

In a bid to battle back Spalding persisted in using a long throw at the lineout.

It just didn’t work for them and cost them dearly, gifting their opponents two more scores – one of which was converted to leave the final score 13–35 in Rasen’s favour.

Although this was a better performance, a lot more work and application is still required before Town’s loyal supporters will see the results they are expecting.

Town: Ben Williamson (captain), Alex Ioannou, Ollie Lake, Peter Shakespeare, Mark Haighton, Ed Duerden, Ben Williams, Luke Scotney, Harry Brown, Harry Winch, Dave Hankinson, Kevin Childs, Ryan Chappell, Cameron Lithgow, Harry Harrison, Sam Cooke, Tom Duerden and Dan Adams.

Saturday: Bedford Athletic v Town (3pm).