Impressive Home Display takes the 1st XV to the Next Round of the NLD Shield
Another impressive home display with nine tries and completely shutting out Sleaford who did not manage any points.
Photograph courtesy of Tim Wilson, Spalding Today.
On Saturday Spalding entertained Sleaford in the first round of the NLD Shield First Round, in another local derby clash, with both teams also playing in the same league. Comparisons between the two club’s league performances showed that Sleaford, although lying second from bottom, their four league games have been close affairs and although having lost every game they have picked up two losing bonus points
By contrast Spalding’s home league performance has seen them demolish both Bakewell and Buxton and they took to the pitch in a confident mood, helped by coach George Reid being able to pick a relatively strong line up, especially in the forwards.
Early exchanges were intense with the visitor’s backs showing good passing ability and pace but centres George Brown and Conall Mason were pressing up and making an early impression with a number of good tackles. However, it was the forwards with strong carries particularly from Ash Ankar and George Berry, who started taking the game to Sleaford. An offload by Jacob Greaves saw Luke Turner, burst through a defensive tackle near the try line and he was over for the opening try.
Five minutes later the forwards again set up a good platform in Sleaford’s twenty two and from a ruck, scrum half Will Shields passed out to Captain Dan Adams, on the burst, slicing through Sleaford’s defence for the next try and with Conall Mason converting a twelve point advantaged had been clocked up after 13 minutes of play.
Spalding’s try scoring machine, Gav Sharman on the left wing was next up, evading Sleaford’s wide defence for the next converted try.
By now the home team’s forwards were in control of most phases of play showing a level of intensity that Sleaford were struggling to match and a deliberate knock-on saw them lose a player for 10 minutes to a yellow card. Unlike last week Spalding capitalised, within a minute, having kicked for touch and Mark Haighton dominating at the front of the lineout a maul formed and Harry Sharman burst forward to score.
With a half time lead of 22 points, Dan Adams, who was carrying an injury from the previous week, was replaced by last year’s captain Richard Cooke who played scrum half with Will Shields moving to fly half.
Ash Ankar was next up using his strength to break two tackles to go under the posts. With the comfortable lead, Coach George Reid, rang a further change with Kev Hudson replacing George Berry in the pack.
Similar to last week play Spalding seemed to lose their shape and sharpness for about fifteen minutes, but Sleaford were unable to mount any serious threat. Harry Sharman, controlling matters from the base of a scrum, broke on the blind side with Gav Sharman the beneficiary of a pass into space, scoring his second try of the afternoon.
Some of the younger players in the team now really started to shine with forward Harry Cole breaking down the right wing with impressive carries linking well with Ben Shields who finished off one of the moves as he stepped back inside.
George Douglas on his return to fullback was finding room to for his runs and kicks forward and Lewis Adams on for George Brown saw Sleaford’s defence part as he glided in for his debut try.
On a very blustery day conversion kicks were extremely difficult but once Conall Mason had found his target in the first half, he impressed, with a total of four successful conversions.
The final try was scored by forward George Berry who was back on from the subs bench and after a couple of determined carries he finally found the try line two minutes before the final whistle.
This was an impressive all round performance with good contributions this week from not only the younger playing who are gaining in match experience at this level but also from players coming off the bench in the second half.
The reward for this NLD Shield victory will be a home fixture in the next round on the 10th November against old rivals Newark who are riding high in Midlands Two league
Team Jacob Greaves, John Barrett, Luke Turner, Mark Haighton, George Berry, Ash Ankar, Harry Cole, Harry Sharman, Will Shields, Dan Adams, Gav Sharman, George Brown, Conall Mason, Ben shields, George Douglas Subs Kev Hudson, Richard Cooke, Lewis Adams