In the last minute of the season, Gav Sharman squeezed over in the corner to score his twenty fifth try to secure a Spalding away win and a third place finish in the league.
This was a game of two halves with Spalding in total control in the first half and Bakewell, with nothing to lose, storming back and in the dying minutes threatening to spoil Spalding’s celebrations.
What an opener from Spalding!
Straight from the kick off by Bakewell, Spalding moved the ball quickly out to their backs to Captain Dan Adams who with his strong running broke two tackles cut back inside the next attempted tackle and just about had enough leg power to score under the posts with Conall Mason converting.
Within a couple of minutes open side flanker Will Shields broke through the first tackle and them weaved his way past three further defenders scoring under the posts for a further converted try.
Bakewell then joined in the fun and from open play they had a converted try and only five minutes had elapsed. Sensibly Spalding capitalised on a penalty kick and then Shields repeated his earlier try running from the half way line leaving defenders in his wake.
The end of season spirit continued as Bakewell mis-kicked a clearance with Sharman catching and cutting back inside. From the breakdown the ball was moved swiftly by scrum half Ben Shields to fly half Mason onto Dan Adams who again cut a line straight through Bakewell and another converted try.
Bakewell’s forwards were doing well in the lineout and were building momentum in the scrums and with a lineout on Spalding’s 5 metre line a driving maul was established and with a deliberate collapse a penalty try was awarded. The final play of the first half saw Mason land another penalty kick and at half time Spalding appeared to have a comfortable 20 point lead.
Within the first two minutes of the restart right wing Sam Forrest caught a long clearance punt downfield by the home team and off he went, weaving passed struggling defenders to score under the posts for a converted try.
But back came Bakewell. Using a kicking game intelligently to gain territory with their dominance of the lineout there left wing was at the end of a flowing move. Bakewell’s number eight was starting to make a real impression with his carries and on the sixty minute mark forceful forward play brought up another try.
Into the last ten minutes, the ball was moved along the backs by Bakewell creating an overlap for their left wing and minutes late a pushover try meant there was only a seven point difference and all to play for. Determined defending by Spalding with Ash Ankar and Jason Steels working overtime saw a penalty awarded to Spalding against Bakewell on the 5 meter line as the home team pressed their advantage.
Clearance kick to touch, an unexpected lineout win and Ash Piccaver having come on as a sub, along with Crane MaCauley and Liam Adams, broke clear. With a ruck now established on Bakewell’s five meter line, ball was moved on by outside centre Reece Callaby to Sharman who just made the line to shut out Bakewell’s impressive revival.
The last match of the season was a true family affair with father & son, Justin and Harry Cole playing together; alongside two sets of brothers - Dan, Liam and Lewis Adams and Will and Ben Shields. With third place Belpher losing unexpectedly at home to bottom of the league Sleaford, Spalding moved up one place into the top three, with Sleaford also avoiding relegation.
With a blend of youth and experience in the first team squad, Spalding future looks bright for next season under Dan Adams captaincy.
Team: Justin Cole, Harry Cole, Kev Hudson, Jordan Templar, Ash Ankar, Tom Wilson, Will Shields, Jason Steels, Ben Shields, Conall Mason, Gav Sharman, Dan Adams, Reece Callaby, Sam Forest, Lewis Adams Subs Crane Macauley, Ash Piccaver, Liam Adams