Highly Successful Afternoon for Spalding Firsts
Spalding stepped up their game for a good win against Ashby lying second in the league
Lying second in the league Ashby travelled to lowly Spalding on Saturday, setting off early in the morning from Ashby de la Zouch, in the expectation of consolidating their league position. However Spalding always step up their game when up against tough opposition, especially at home, the classic example being the narrow loss in a pulsating game earlier in the season against Nottingham team Long Eaton.
The surprising Spalding team news was a welcome back to Harry Sharman playing number eight in the forwards. Also starting was Dave McClaren at lock, with Dan Adams retaining the fly half position after impressing coach George Reid and with George Douglas back at fullback, Adam McHugh found himself playing outside centre alongside George Brown.
From the kick off Ashby took immediate control of the match putting Spalding under pressure but Spalding’s solid defence held their lines and soon started to match the visitors. The first scoring opportunity fell to Spalding, when Ashby failed to release in the tackle, but Ashton Capes penalty kick failed narrowly.
However within a matter of seconds Spalding were back on the attack using their forwards to gain territory with their pick and drives and Jason Steels playing openside flanker, burst through Ashby’s tackling for the opening unconverted try.
Spalding now exerted constant pressure on the visitors, with or without the ball, which was to last the whole of the first half. For the second week running Spalding’s front row of Peter Waudby, John Barrett and Kev Hudson were putting Spalding’s scrum on the front foot, giving Sharman and scrum half Will Shields options at the base of the scrum and for a change both wingers Gav Sharman and Ashton Capes were receiving good ball and were able to shine.
With several runs Gav Sharman threatened to open up Ashby down the left wing with only last ditch tackles preventing several scoring opportunities. But with just a couple of minutes to go before half time from a ruck deep inside Ashby territory Sharman broke right and quick passing between the centres created a gap for Ashton Capes to dive in at the corner for a 10 points lead.
Luke Turner replaced McClaren at lock and shortly after the restart George Brown limped off replaced by Willis Ingleby, who was immediately called upon with a penalty kick, which sailed wide. It is always difficult to keep Ash Piccaver out of the game and he started to feature with his forceful breaks around the tackle area, but it was George Douglas popping up from fullback taking the ball at pace who crashed over for Spalding’s third try and with Ingleby converting Spalding had an impressive 17 point lead.
Ashby now demonstrated why they were lying second in the league as they stages a comeback in the last quarter aided by a drop off in Spalding’s intensity with their cover defence going awol. Within a two minutes spell Ashby scored two tries and closed the point’s difference to only 5 points. A nervous touchline started think the unthinkable and with Sharman going off injured replaced by Harry Cole, Adam McHugh experienced leadership kicked in steadying the ship.
Too great relief Ashby infringed, 30 metres from the posts and Ingelby successfully slotted over the penalty kick increasing Spalding’s lead to a crucial 8 points. But with nearly the last play Ashby snatch a further try to earn a losing bonus point.
For three quarters of this match Spalding shut out the second best team in the league. The forwards establishing the platform, especially at the scrum and breakdown, for the ball to be passed out wide and the backs were then able to inflict the damage on Ashby with their pace. More performances like this should see Spalding climb away from any relegation dangers.
A highly success afternoon for Spalding.
Team- Pete Waudby, John Barrett, Kev Hudson, Dave McClaren, Ash Piccaver, Richard Cooke Captain, Jason Steels, Harry Sharman, Will Shields, Dan Adams, Gav Sharman, George Brown, Adam McHugh, Ashton Capes, George Douglas subs Luke Turner, Harry Cole, Willis Ingleby