Kesteven 1st XV 35
Sleaford RFC 1st XV 19
SLEAFORD first fifteen began their competitive season away at local rivals Kesteven.
With the team much changed from last season and with little time in pre-season to work together, Sleaford expected a tough test.
Kesteven set up a ruck within five metres of the Sleaford try line and, with the guards not in place, it was a simple job for the home 9 to pick up and go round the ruck to cross the line for the first score of the day. The conversion was duly dispatched to make it 7-0.
Sleaford, playing up the slope in the first half, then began to show what they could do with the ball in hand. However the Kesteven defence held firm and the ball was turned over and, following a kick through, they added their second score of the day.
The Red and Blacks slowly began to work their way back into the game. Whenever the opportunity presented itself Mackie looked to release his centres Dores and Spencer, who made good yardage, and Kesteven were frequently forced to infringe to stop Sleaford going forward.
The referee eventually lost patience with the home defence and produced the first yellow card of the day for persistent infringement. Mackie dispatched the ball over the posts to give Sleaford their first points of the day. This pattern continued through to the end of the first half, with Mackie kicking two more penalties to reduce the deficit.
After the break, Kesteven made Sleaford pay dearly for some sloppy defensive work, going over for two more tries in close succession.
Sleaford scored their first try after another penalty conceded by Kesteven. This was quickly taken and the ball spread wide by Mackie, giving Batchelor an easy run to the corner.
Despite this and Mackie’s four penalties, Sleaford fell short. They will know they will need to ensure their defence is tighter and they make the most of their opportunities if they are to have a successful league campaign.
Sleaford RFC 1st XV: Woollas, Harley, Beswick, Frisby, Daughtrey, Fisher, Bradwell, Fisher, Holmes, Hodgson, Mackie, Dores, Spencer, Wells, Batchelor. Subs: Titmus, Cockcroft, Loveday
n This Saturday, Sleaford 1st XV entertain Bakewell at Ruskington Road. Kick off 3pm.