Market Rasen & Louth 1st XV saw their run of six straight wins ended by a 21-14 home defeat by Bedford Athletic 1st XV at the weekend.
In atrocious conditions it was always going to be an attritional battle slogged out in the forwards and it was the Rasen eight who had the better of the early encounters as their driving play gave fullback Matt Sutton his first shot at goal after four minutes. Sutton slotted the kick to open the scoring.
Rasen capitalised on their territorial superiority with two further Sutton penalties, the second of which was a magnificent strike from close to the touchline before Bedford’s persistence with a more open game almost paid off.
But Bedford were working their way back into the game and Mortimer kicked a penalty to open their account to close the margin to 9 – 3 at the interval.
Bedford realised their first half folly and emerged in the second half with a change of tactics that saw Mortimer control the game from fly half with some astute kicking whilst his forwards maintained a foothold deep in Rasen territory.
There was an early let off when Mortimer over hit a penalty touch find to send the ball dead, but within seven minutes the fly half had landed two penalties to bring his side level.
And Rasen then had to endure some of their own medicine as Bedford executed a perfect catch and drive to force number eight James Ball over the line and their task was made harder when a late tackle from substitute Chris Mills earned him ten minutes in the sin bin and Bedford took full advantagewhen scrumhalf Tom Orton dummied to pass out and then sneaked through a gap in the fringe defence for a try which was converted by Mortimer.
In a final act of defiance Rasen’s forwards drove towards the line, but as the momentum began to slow almost all of the backline joined the maul to propel flanker Leigh Dearden over the line for a crucial try to earn a losing bonus point with the last play of the match.