Blues make it through the long grass
Despite finding the going not to their liking, the Blues still managed a comfortable 50-13 win on the road at Market Rasen & Louth.
With several inches of thick grass, and going softened by the overnight rain, there was never any danger of anyone having to endure a hard landing at the racecourse town of Market Rasen last Saturday. Indeed, the only issue was whether diminutive debutant scrum-half, Martin Mandoki would be found if he ever fell over? No-one need have worried, as the young Hungarian put in a fine performance to earn the players Man of the Match award.
The home side began well and opened the scoring with a first minute penalty, but Kettering bounced back quickly and Dan Martin crashed over after 8 minutes, for the first of the nine tries scored by the Blues on the day. Bruce Keir converted to make the score 3-7.
The home side were fired up and a fine break by their outside centre not only resulted in an unconverted try, but also a dislocated shoulder for Harry Luthayi as the full-back made a brave tackle. 8-7 to Rasen.
Kettering were by now dominating proceedings and after several missed opportunities, chose to kick a penalty in front of the posts to regain the lead after 17 minutes. 8-10. This domination continued as the half wore on, and led to 4 further tries for the Blues to secure the bonus point for tries and leave the hosts a mountain to climb in the second half.
Firstly, Paul Sumner went over in the corner, and then George Newman crossed from a 5-metre scrum, with 32 minutes gone. Then Damo Conyard, who had come on for the injured Luthayi, scorched down the left wing and dived over in the corner, before Brett Sturgess smashed his way over from a short penalty. With all the tries wide out and in the somewhat "difficult" underfoot conditions, the normally reliable Keir boot was unsuccessful with all the conversions, to leave the score 8-30 at half-time.
Rasen scored an unconverted try early in the second half to give them a glimmer of hope. However, this was quickly extinguished as Conyard crossed for his second, followed by a Steve Fraher special on the hour mark, as the hooker found himself in receipt of a cross-field kick to dance over in the right corner. With 20 minutes to go the game was well and truly over with the scoreline reading 13-40.
The Blues still went looking for more tries and these were forthcoming as firstly, Sumner scored his second try of the afternoon, chasing his own chip down and diving to score, and then Keir dummied his way over for the final try in the last minute of the game, to leave the final score Market Rasen & Louth 13 - 50 Kettering.
RAJ Man of the Match: Martin Mandoki