Bingham 13 - 12 Kesteven
By Chris Packer
A huge team effort to overcome the odds and Kesteven to hold out and move 2nd in the table
Bingham 13 - 12 Kesteven
A major blow during the week when we lost Jonathan Thomas and Pete Corah to an ever increasing injury list & Ben Packer on Friday evening, being admitted to the QMC with a severe sickness bug. Get well soon boys!
With Mick Challans coming back from injury as our 16th man, it meant we had a thin albeit strong team.
In freezing conditions, Bingham played into the wind and immediately came under pressure due to a couple of needless penalties. The Kesteven 10 kept the game going recycling ball and despite Bingham tackling hard, Kesteven’s intensity was rewarded with a try after 10 minutes. Not converted. 0-5.
From the kick off Bingham started to get back into the game with some strong scrummaging and forward drives most notably with Adam Downie at 8 making good yards.
A break from Adam Deal down the left wing almost led to the scores levelling with a 2 on 1 begging but the Kesteven winger put in a great tackle. The forwards then tried their best from the resultant rucks but after several drives knocked the ball on.
Kesteven then started giving away penalties and Bingham tried to get the scoreboard ticking. Unfortunately the windy conditions prevented the normally reliable Will Packer from converting any of the 3 penalties awarded.
With Kesteven choosing to kick much of their possession, James Seagrave was safe under the high ball & showed some excellent runs and side steps getting back into the opponents half.
After more pressure and forward dominance, Will Packer went blind and timed his pass perfectly to Adam Deal who showed pace and power to drive over in the corner and get his first try for the club. Conversion missed. 5-5.
More Bingham pressure followed and it looked like it would be Bingham to score again. However in the last play in the Kesteven 22, a knock on led to the Kesteven backs counter attacking, kicking into space and chasing the ball down to score despite Jack Barnard doing all his best to run down the pacey full back. Try converted. 5-12.
A positive half time chat ensued as it was reminded that we had most of the territory and possession in the first half and now we had the wind to come.
The second half was played almost all in the Kesteven half. Lots of pressure but the elusive score just not coming. Credit to Kesteven as they soaked it up and played quick penalties to keep Bingham on their toes.
Pressure ultimately led to a kickable penalty and this time Will Packer made no mistake to get the scoreboard moving again. 8 - 12
An injury to Adam Downie brought Mick Challans into the fray with Pete Mount moving to 8. Kesteven then had a 5 minute spell encamped in the Bingham 22 and chose to run 3 penalties; spirited Bingham tackling prevented the score coming eventually turning the ball over and clearing.
Into the last quarter & Bingham into the Kesteven 22 again; a driving maul & Lee Fretwell held up. From the resulting scrum, Will Packer goes blind to score but the referee had blown for a knock on as he picked up the ball.
With time ticking away and 7 mins left, good close forward play from Nathan Hartland, Pete Mount and Will Packer took us to halfway, Gareth McGahan, Chris Bell, Mick Challans & Steve Guiton then kept hold and protected the ball and another drive saw Lee Fretwell get into the Kesteven 22. Vet Dave Fairchild then somehow came away with the ball, went blind and like a man possessed and rolling back the years, kept on going to score out wide. A deserved score but unconverted 13-12.
Could Bingham hold on? With a Kesteven prop going off injured scrums were now uncontested and with 3 mins to go and another scrum in the Bingham half, the decision to kick and make them run it back overruled in favour of some old fashioned pick and goes. 10 – 15 phases later with most players getting involved the 80 was up and despite a risky pass from Ben Samson which was intercepted, both Ben and Chris Garrod saw the Kesteven winger into touch leading to mass celebrations.
A great win and Bingham end 2018 with 7 league wins on the spin, one point off the top and only bonus points preventing us going into Xmas as league leaders.
Not the best advert for running rugby but an enthralling contest with both teams playing their part.
A break now until mid January and the chance to get players back from injury.
To the credit of the Bingham squad most then went on to aid the Bingham Economy and celebrate the win.
Great team spirit!