Poor Team Performance gave Moderns First Win of Season
Strong scrum could not turn this to advantage to score necessary try at end to take the game
After an uninspiring performance on Saturday Spalding became the first team to lose to Notts Moderns in league this season. The visitors arrived at the Memorial Ground with just two bonus points from eight matches, whilst Spalding although also lying at the wrong end of the table had recently started to string together a number of home wins.
The opening quarter of the match saw Spalding looking to gain superiority through the forwards and the early indications were promising with a strong scrum allowing options for either Jason Steels at number eight to pick and break with the ball or Will Shields to pass comforably out to fly half Willis Ingleby.
Moderns were forced into a series of defensive tackles and early on the opposition scrum half was shown a yellow card for not rolling away. With a man advantage Spalding went looking for the opening try. A further penalty was awarded 10 metres from the try line and with quick thinking Shields took a tap penalty and forced himself over the line with Ingleby converting.
With numbers restored Moderns stepped up their game looking to move the ball along their backs as they made inroads deep inside Spalding’s half. A missed tackle allowed their outside centre to glide in for an unconverted try.
Minutes later a miss move orchestrated by fly half Ingleby with his fellow backs, went horribly wrong as Moderns pressed up and intercepted an intended pass to score under the post for a converted try and suddenly the visitors had a five point lead. Captain Richard Cooke took a knock and came off for treatment with George Berry on.
Spalding were starting to lose their structure and team play. Steels and Ash Piccaver were making breaks with their forward play, but too often these were in isolation with no support to clear out at the tackle area and the ball ending up being turned over. Spalding lineout was also started to misfire losing their first phase possession, but with the half time whistle being blown, it was an opportunity for the team talk and to regroup.
Immediately from the restart Spalding stepped up their pace and commitment and were soon threatening Moderns try line and from a ruck Cooke dived over with Ingleby converting for a two point lead. Moderns were now also running confidently with the ball using their pace and exposed Spalding with winger Gav Sharman being left to defend a two on one and Modern’s winger scored in the corner.
With a three point deficit Spalding had well over 20 minutes to turn the match around but the reality was that on the day they never looked up to the job.
By now Spalding’s scrum was well on top but they could not turn this too their advantage, as Moderns were kicking well out of defence. With George Brown on for Tom Wilson both Spalding centres, Brown and Dan Adams become fixated with crash ball moves, invariably taking the ball back inside into the laps of Moderns defence, instead of looking for space and support on the outside. Both Sharman and Ashton Capes, who have got pace to spare, hardly ever received a pass even with Adam McHugh bursting into the line to create an extra man in the latter stages.
Whether Spalding thought all they had to do was to turn up against the bottom team to chalk up a win they were taught a hard lesson on the day. They will need to considerably improve if they wish to climb away from the relegation zone.
Team- Kev Hudson, John Barrett, Jacob Greaves, Luke Turner, Ash Piccaver, Harry Cole, Richard Cooke, Captain, Jason Steels, Will Shields, Willis Ingleby, Gav Sharman, Dan Adams, Tom Wilson, Ashton Capes, Adam McHugh Subs George Berry, George Brown, Fin Peters