The monsoon returned to Willingham Road on Saturday as Rasen again kicked off in torrential rain against a Wellingborough side eager to bounce back from opening day defeat.
Wellingborough began with purpose to monopolise possession, but the hosts opened the scoring against the run of play through Meehal Grint’s well-struck penalty after five minutes.
Just three minutes later Wellingborough were back on terms through Pete Vickers’ penalty.
After a sluggish start the Red and Greens began to get their game together and forced Wellingborough on the defensive.
Patiently building pressure by maintaining possession, Rasen edged their way towards the line and Wellingborough eventually succumbed to concede a penalty.
Confident captain Chris Starling ordered a kick to touch and Rasen didn’t let their skipper down as the tried and trusted catch and drive resulted in prop Pete Southwell touching down to restore the lead.
As Grint lined up the conversion, Wellingborough sensed he had begun his run up and Kieran Checkley charged from the line to grab the ball before the bemused Grint had barely moved.
To the disbelief of Rasen and their supporters, the young referee agreed with the visitors, much to Grint’s disgust who was profoundly affected for the rest of the game.
As the rain abated Rasen failed to make touch and Andy Seaton safely gathered the wayward kick to launch a counter-attack.
The Wellingborough full-back could hardly believe his luck as he was met with scant resistance and flimsy tackling.
The run was finally halted, but all too late as Chris Shipman took the scoring pass to canter in under the posts. Vickers’ simple conversion put Wellingborough ahead.
Two quick yellow cards were shown to Wellingborough flanker Joel Smith then Rasen scrum-half Mike Starling on the stroke of half-time.
Rasen made a lightning start to the second half as flanker Jake Pryer emerged from the maul immediately following the restart before feeding Will Inman who charged away along the touchline.
With the line in sight the visitors reached him and deliberately knocked on Inman’s intended pass to the supporting Pryer. Lock Alex Booth joined his team-mate on the touchline for this misdemeanour with the half less than a minute old.
Rasen pummelled the visiting defence, and after four minutes Rasen shunted Wellingborough’s depleted pack over the line from a set scrum for Ben Chamberlin to touch down.
Grint’s attempted conversion from a difficult angle rebounded off an upright.
With their noses back in front, Rasen should have pushed on, but the concentration levels fell to allow the away side back into the game.
Shipman continued to cause problems down the blindside, breaking tackles before linking with scrum-half Kieran Fereday. His quick pass opened a gaping hole for Vickers to run in under the posts and leave himself a simple conversion within five minutes of Rasen’s score.
And Vickers added to Rasen’s woes with another penalty six minutes later.
The Red and Greens seemed to have picked themselves up, but Wellingborough made it tough for them to make progress up field.
Disaster struck when another total switch-off in the home defence saw the ball run loose and sub Joe Standen strolled over the line with ease.
Vickers’ conversion pushed Wellingborough two scores ahead with 18 minutes left.
This should have been ample time to gain something out of the game, but the two teams cancelled each other out.
Another long run from Inman gave Rasen a glimmer of hope, but this time there was no support and Vickers’ superb cover tackle bundled the lock into touch agonisingly short of the line.
* On Saturday, Rasen hit the road to newly-promoted Melton Mowbray who will be looking to bounce back following a local derby with Lutterworth.
Rasen: Haig, Alldridge, Southwell (L. Dearden L), Inman, Crowe (Mills), C. Starling, Pryer, Chamberlin, M. Starling, Robinson, J. Norton (Harvey), Grint, P. Everton, Stephens, Pope.