Local Derby ends in Defeat
Spalding were unlucky not to win this with the last play...
Spalding were behind in this match against local rivals Sleaford from the 6th minute when Sleaford sliced open the home teams defence to score under the posts for a converted try.
However victory should have been snatched out of defeat with the last play of the match. Awarded a scrum on Sleaford’s 5 metre line following a knock on at a lineout Spalding secured the ball at the put in. The home team’s forwards had had the upper hand in the scrum and they started to exert their superiority edging forward. With the ball under control at the back of the scrum the 5 metres was steadily eaten away until the try line was within reach.
Finally the ball was over the try line and all that was required was for a Spalding player to touch down to win the game. Instead Sleaford’s scrum half said thank you very much, picked the ball up and cleared for the referee to blow his whistle to end the game.
With Sleaford kicking off prop Jordan Butcher went up to secure the ball but sustained an injury and was replaced by John Barrett
Sleaford’s opening try had knocked Spalding’s confidence and the visitors capitalised as they spread the ball out to their backs and with the home team infringing with the award of penalties and a free kick, a quickly taken tapped penalty saw Sleaford’s inside centre cut through some poor Spalding defence for a converted try and a fourteen point lead within the first 9 minutes.
Spalding responded using a combination of forward play then releasing the ball along their backs and as left winger Ben Shields received the ball it looked like the move had finished, but Willis Ingleby was looping around and a good offload saw Ingleby score in the corner. However, Spalding’s suspect defence again allowed Sleaford to immediately respond and with their centres creating a hole for their outside centre to gratefully run through unopposed for a further converted try.
The game was now end to end and within minutes Spalding were attacking deep into Sleaford’s 22 metre and from a ruck won by Spalding, Harry Sharman sold a dummy pass and was over for Spalding’s second try with Ingleby converting. Back came Sleaford and their right winger was round Spalding’s failing defence for their fourth converted try with only 24 minutes on the clock.
Trailing by 16 points Spalding were going to have to dig in and use their forwards if they wanted to get back into the game. Carries from the front row trio of Jacob Greaves, Sam Cooke and John Barrett took Spalding back down the pitch and with Sleaford defending their line Captain Richard Cooke dived over for a converted try just before half time.
Liam Adams came on for Harry Cole at flanker and Spalding’s defence by now had sorted itself out and in contrast to the free flowing opening first half the second half became tight and intense. Sleaford were kicking deep for territory but this played into fullback Adam McHugh’s hands with his forceful counterattack runs setting up good rucks for Spalding’s next phase of play.
With over half of the second half gone and no score, it was Sharman who showed the way with a forceful drive for his second try and set up Spalding for the last 15 minutes of sustained pressure. However in scoring Sharman strained his hamstring and was replaced by Kev Hudson
Pressure was bringing penalty awards to Spalding but the resultant kicks to touch brought no reward until the final few minutes of the match when an unlikely victory should have been secured.
The consolation for Spalding was picking up two bonus points taking them to 45 league points just above the relegation zone making next week’s rearrange home match against Rolls Royce all the more vital.
Team Jacob Greaves, Sam Cooke, Jordan Butcher, Kieran Bailey, Ash Piccaver, Harry Cole, Jason Steels, Harry Sharman, Richard Cooke, Dan Adams, Ben Shields, Willis Ingleby, George Brown, Ashton Capes, Adam McHugh Subs John Barrett, Liam Adams, Kev Hudson