Another Great Home Win for the Firsts
After a shock in the opening minutes when Moderns dominated play Spalding turned on a display of powerful forward play for another good home league win and to move back up to third in the league
After a shock in the opening minutes when Moderns dominated play and established a lead of 14 points Spalding turned on a display of powerful forward play and an outstanding display by Gav Sharman with 5 tries for another good home league win and to move back up to third in the league.
Spalding maintained their unbeaten home league record in another high scoring match led by winger Gav Sharman who blitzed the visitors, Nottingham Moderns, with an outstanding haul of five tries. A total contrast from the previous week, when he did not receive a single pass at leaders Notts Casuals spending the afternoon put in cover tackles as defence was the order of the day.
But the opening 15 minutes was by far a different story as Moderns realising they may be outgunned in the forwards went straight from the kick off spreading the ball wide along their backs and after only a couple of minutes they were rewarded with an opening converted try
Modern’s confidence rose, as Spalding struggled to get into the game, not helped by a number of penalties conceded at the breakdown. Again they were spreading the ball wide for their strong running centres and with only eight minutes on the clock Moderns waltzed in for a second converted try and a lead of fourteen points. Spalding were stunned!
The reaction was to go back to basics, using their forwards to carry in open play, gaining territory, lead by Ash Ankar , Luke Turner and George Berry. It also became clear after the first couple of scrums, that superiority lay with Spalding, with the front three of Jacob Greaves, John Barrett and Kev Hudson laying down an excellent platform throughout the afternoon.
With their first foray deep into Moderns twenty two the ball went wide along the backs and centre Tom Wilson quick pass released Gav Sharman to round the defence to open the scoring.
Moderns then missed a penalty kick opportunity as the game flowed back and forth but again Spalding forwards were dominant, punching big holes in the visitors defence. Captain on the day Will Shields was enjoying the time and space to whip the ball out to fly half Conall Mason and this time on the other wing a long pass out by Willis Ingleby saw Ben Shields in for Spalding’s second try. Having provided the scoring pass Ingleby with a strong run forced his way through to score and with his conversion Spalding had pulled back Moderns' advantage taking a one point lead.
Ash Piccaver was showing what a handful he can be, with ball in hand, with some powerful carries breaking through tackles and he was over for the next try, which sealed the bonus point. Just on half time another superb quick pass by centre Wilson saw Sharman over in the corner.
Spalding went into half time with a thirteen point advantage having been down by fourteen points after the opening eight minutes
Momentum in the second half was lost by Spalding as the referee continued to find fault at the breakdown and with the penalty count mounting Piccaver fell victim to a yellow card.
A revival was needed and Harry Sharman provided it. The forwards encamped themselves deep inside Moderns twenty two with the try line in reach. Ruck after ruck followed, as Spalding drove forward and finally Sharman was able to reach out and score. Coach George Reid rang the changes from the subs bench with Piccaver and Hudson off replaced by Tim Waltham and Harry Cole on, with the Shields also switching positions.
But it was Gav Sharman who now stole the show with three further outstanding tries in the last twenty minutes, demonstrating a turn of pace that nobody could live with and an eye for a gap. He will now be setting his sights on overtaking last season’s number of tries.
Moderns picked up a solitary try in the second half, but once Spalding started motoring the visitors were unable live with Spalding’s powerful forward play or the pace and skills of the backs.
The excellent result lifted Spalding back up to third in the league.
Team Jacob Greaves, John Barrett, Kev Hudson, Ash Piccaver, Luke Turner, Edward Williams, Ash Ankar, Harry Sharman, Will Shields, Conall Mason, Gav Sharman, Willis Ingleby, Tom Wilson, Ben Shields, George Douglas Subs George Berry, Tim Waltham, Harry Cole
Photo Courtesy of Adrian Smith