Disappointing Second Half Performance results in a Loss
Spalding played very well in the first half to be level on points at half time, playing away at Kesteven with the home team having not only a home crowd advantage but also wind and a sloping pitch.
This result was a clear case of a first away win of the season being lost by Spalding with a disappointing second half display allowing the home team to steal a victory with a converted try even though they were one man down at the time as a result of a yellow card.
As normal there were one or two absences from last week’s emphatic win against Buxton, with Harry Brown, Tim Waltham, Kev Hudson and Jason Steels absent but with Luke Turner playing prop along with the returning Jacob Greaves, Mark Haighton adding his lineout expertise at lock alongside George Berry and Harry Cole flanking and with a settled back line expectation of a good performance were high.
With all the home advantages in the first half Kesteven from the kick off looked to press Spalding back. Spalding’s response was solid with good defensive tackles stopping Kesteven gaining any momentum, but a neat kick over the top saw the home team’s left wing gather the ball and score under the posts for a converted try. Kesteven were exerting pressure in the scrums and with the front row popping up the resulting penalty was kicked for a lead of 10 points after fifteen minutes
Spalding then stunned the home team with their willingness to run the ball from deep and Mark Haighton was on hand to finish off the move for a very good try, which was not converted.
Although under some pressure at times Spalding were playing controlled rugby led by the experienced Harry Sharman in the pack, retaining possession and with their defensive lines solid Kesteven were struggling to create any clear scoring opportunities. With half time approaching Spalding stunned the home team by working the ball out to Gav Sharman to level the score with an unconverted try
Instead of kicking on and dominating the second half Spalding lost their pattern of play, failing to kick for territory with wind and slope advantage so failing to pin Kesteven back deep in their twenty two. Errors were also creeping into their game with knock on’s losing possession and key lineout possession lost.
Finally with Spalding using their forwards repeatedly on the Kesteven try line to edge their way over, Sharman with experience and strength found a way through for a further unconverted try for a five point lead. Captain Dan Adams was trying to lead his team from the front with several strong runs through the middle and with a high tackle coming in, Kesteven lost a player for 10 minutes with a yellow card.
With a one man advantage Spalding should have made it count to seal victory, but poor tactical decisions and lack of experience saw them waste the opportunity. In fact, Kesteven on one of their few outing’s into Spalding territory during the second half saw them grab the winning score. Using their backs they broke upfield and at the tackle area their scrum half spotting a lack of defence at the side of the ruck and ran under the posts to score. The conversion sealed victory by two points.
An unhappy Spalding left the field after the final whistle knowing that a potential five point bonus win had been thrown away with their second half performance.
Team Jacob Greaves, John Barrett, Luke Turner, George Berry, Mark Haighton, Ash Ankar, Harry Cole, Harry Sharman, Will Shields, Willis Ingleby, Ben Shields, Dan Adams, George Brown, Gav Sharman, Conall Mason, Subs Richrd Cooke, George Douglas, Richard Grew .
Submitted by Peter Jullien