Red and blacks keep promotion chances alive

Sleaford Rugby Club 1st XV win a close derby match against Kesteven at Grantham. EMN-150402-123119001
Sleaford Rugby Club 1st XV win a close derby match against Kesteven at Grantham. EMN-150402-123119001

Kesteven 10 - Sleaford 13

It was victory in the local derby against Kesteven on Saturday as the red and blacks of Sleaford 1st XV won a close game to put to bed the drubbing they had earlier in the season.

Sleaford travelled away to Kesteven, which is always a hotly contested fixture as bragging rights are at stake.

On a cold, blustery and muddy day Sleaford were very much looking to even the score and take maximum points from this fixture, to keep any chance of promotion alive.

It was a tight game from the off and the conditions did not help as the wind blowing strong caused many errors. It was the home team that took the advantage and scored a try after steady but slow possession to sneak over the line.

Although both teams were muddy and cold, the tackles were still flying in and a game of attrition was now in play. After some fine defence from both teams Kesteven managed to slip the Sleaford defence and score another try to make it 10-0 to the home team which stayed the same until half time.

Sleaford did not want to lose again and especially get well beaten as in the last time the teams met.

The red and blacks had been in this position over the past few weeks and came back only to lose, today though was different, the team as always kept their heads up and within five minutes Ryan Batchelor scored a try under the posts which was duly converted in the gale force northern winds.

Sleaford were now in the ascendency keeping a tight defence and probing the Kesteven lines constantly. This sustained pressure forced Kesteven to give away a penalty 10 metres from the posts, the travelling away fans willed it over as it went straight through the middle to bring the score to 10-10.

Kesteven came back at Sleaford hard and fast and it was getting hard to tell who was on whose team as the mud turned everyone’s strip the same colour. Sleaford stood fast, and with 10 minutes left, Sleaford won a penalty 35 metres from the post, a tricky kick even for a professional in this weather.

You could hear a pin drop as the kicker ran up and struck a kick so sweetly, Johnny Wilkinson would have been proud as it sailed through the posts and for the first time in the match Sleaford were ahead 10-13.

Sleaford kept attacking as this was the best form of defence, as the tired bodies that were still on the field of play gave everything and never has the final whistle been so welcomed to the squad.

This was a crucial victory that still gave the red and blacks a slim chance of promotion.

Captain Shaun Fisher said to his team: “Great effort today you bunch of little beauties. Fantastic effort and performance all round. Great result against a good team. They couldn’t get into their game due to our performance.”

Man of the Match – John Pocklington.