Determined Gainsborough All Blacks rose to fourth in the Midlands 5 East (North) division after a fine 21-7 victory over fellow mid-tablers Keyworth in their last match before the Christmas break.
Anxious to get back to winning ways after their cup defeat at the hands of Cleethorpes, the All Blacks started well, putting their visitors under pressure straight from the kick-off.
They kept this up for 15 minutes and were rewarded by a Will Cawte penalty to take a three-point lead.
Playing with confidence, the Gainsborough side put together a good string of passes that played a major part in the creation of their first try. Daniel Dawson received the ball and ran down the wing, making vital ground in the process, before offloading an inside pass to Will Cawte, who then dashed 20 metres to go over the line. The try was also converted to further increase the lead in favour of the home side.
The All Blacks went into the half-time interval with a clean sheet at 10-0 up, firmly in the drivers’ seat and on course for the victory.
The second half kicked off with Keyworth battling to get back into the game to overhaul the deficit, and Gainsborough suffered a big blow when scrum-half Jonathan Brewster had to leave the field with a broken arm.
The home side re-organised, but Keyworth took advantage and forced their way back into contention with a converted try to reduce the gap to three points. This left the match in the balance and the Gainsborough side facing a rather tense half-hour in which they needed to ease the pressure.
Step forward Cawte, who did just that by scoring two penalty-kicks that almost regained their first-half advantage and also denied Keyworth a losing bonus point as things stood.
Grant Bell was also instrumental, as always, in securing the win as he went over for the final try of the match. And even though the conversion that followed was unsuccessful, the All Blacks were clear victors come the final whistle.
The man-of-the-match award went to Dawson after a game in which the All Blacks dominated most of the possession, with spells of terrific tackling and defending that also included good work in the scrums.
It was the club’s only fixture of the day. The All Blacks now take a break for the Christmas and New Year holiday before returning to league action on Saturday, January 9 with a trip to Meden Vale.