Lies, Lies and Damn Statistics
Despite, statistically, dominating the game with 69% possession, Kettering stumbled to a disappointing 21-18 defeat at a soggy Fengate, as the home sides tenacity caused an early season upset.
The Blues travelled to Peterborough confident that they could back up the previous weeks opening league game win over Paviors, against a newly promoted side who had conversely lost their first game back at level 6 to local rivals Huntingdon.
However, it was the home team who came out of the blocks with all guns blazing and they took full advantage of some dire Kettering defence to open the scoring with a converted try to lead 7-0 after less than a minutes play.
Kettering were really struggling the get any fluency in their play in the first quarter, and with the lineout stuttering, the home sides tactic of pinning the Blues back was proving very effective. with far too many unforced errors and an unacceptable penalty count against them, the visitors found themselves having to play from deep, and this was proving difficult in the wind and rain which persisted throughout much of the game .
Another unnecessary penalty after they had repelled a determined Peterborough drive led to a second 'Boro' try for the hosts to deservedly lead 12-0.
It was fully 25 minutes before the Blues managed to string any consistent play together, and a fine break from Harry Owens was carried deep into the Peterborough half, and the pressure told as the hosts conceded a penalty. Unfortunately for the Blues, Joe Daniels kick was wide and the scoreline remained the same.
The momentum was changing and Kettering started to string some continuity together, with the result that Steve Fraher scored an unconverted try from close range to leave the score 12-5 to Peterborough at the break.
Kettering began the second half strongly, and Tim Bayes crossed the whitewash for the Blues second try, with Daniels conversion levelling the scores at 12-12.
The Blues were still conceding far too many penalties and this led to 2 converted penalties from the hosts, and a yellow card to Bruce Keir, before Daniel responded with 2 of his own to again level the scores at 18-18 with 5 minutes on the clock.
Having dominated the scrums for most of the game, with no reward, it was a real surprise when the Blues were penalised at a scrum straight in front of their own posts and 30-metres out, with only a minute remaining. The Peterborough side weren't arguing and their kicker again stepped up and coolly converted to, seemingly, secure the win.
The game wasn't over, however, and in a dramatic last minute Daniel had a final chance to grab the draw, but his usual trusty boot, much like so much of the Blues play that day, was not firing on all cylinders and his attempt was wide, much to the joy of the home players and supporters.
With promotion favourites Syston and Bedford Athletic to follow in the next 2 matches, the Blues have much to work on, and at least there will be no complacency in the camp as they prepare for the forthcoming games!
RAJ Man of the Match: Dan Martin