Earlier in the season Spalding ran out winners against Huntingdon at home, in a close game, so it was going to be interesting to see “how well would Spalding travel” if they were going to challenge any of the top teams.
From the kick off Spalding looked the better outfit, with their forwards dominating the breakdown and making inroads with their carries, with Connor Lilburn, back from injury, showing up well and Harry Cole prominent with his strength and pace.
Huntingdon steadied their ship and with good box kicks from their scrum half, gaining territory, Spalding started to come under pressure. As a result a number of penalties started to be conceded. Pulling down in the lineout resulted in a successful penalty kick and ten minutes later not releasing a tackled player brought another successful penalty kick, giving the home team a six point lead
Spalding were making too many wrong decisions in their play, leading to either the ball being turned over or poor passing, handing possession over to Huntingdon.
However in the lineout Jordan Templer was performing well and Harry Sharman was proving to be a handful, with strong carries and his vision. The scrums were fairly even between the two teams with Luke Turner and John Barrett in the front row proving a bit of a handful for the opposition.
With the ground wet under foot in areas, the pitch had recently been under water, it was proving difficult conditions for centres Dan Adams and George Brown with their running game to make an impact and both wingers were hardly seeing the ball
With half time drawing near, Spalding worked their way upfield and Ash Anker forced his way over the line to bring Spalding to within one point of Huntingdon.
Injured Lilburn was replaced by Will Cole, making his debut. But within a couple of minutes of the second half a high up and under, was missed by Sharman and, left wing, Callum Lewis, with neither calling for the ball and Huntingdon’s right winger gathered running unopposed behind the posts for a converted try.
By now flanker Reece Calaby was really stepping up into the game, with his tackling and speed to the breakdown. Captain Dan Adams made a good break through the middle being hauled down 10 metres from the try line, whilst the fresh legs of Mattie Holmes replaced Lewis on the wing.
Calaby again showed his speed slicing through Huntingdon’s forwards before offloading to fly half, Willis Ingleby, who outpaced the covering defence, going under the posts, with Conall Mason converting.
With a single point dividing the teams, Spalding had 30 minutes remaining to win the game as they continued to press forward, with much of the play concentrated within the forwards. On a rare excursion into Spalding’s twenty two metres, another penalty given away for a high tackle saw Huntingdon successful with the penalty kick. A few minutes later saw Jordan Templer yellow carded for a second time at the breakdown but still Spalding pressed forward and on a number of occasions encamped on Huntingdon’s 5 metre line, but came away with nothing, as Huntingdon defended determinately.
At the final whistle, Huntingdon were delighted to have come through Spalding’s pressure. However Captain Dan Adams, was ruing the missed scoring opportunities that their pressure had created and the lack of a clinical attitude at key periods in the match by his team .
Team:- Harry Cole, John Barrett, Luke Turner, Jordan Templer, Connor Lilburn, Ash Anker, Reece Calaby, Harry Sharman, Ben Shields, Willis Ingleby Ed Booth, Dan Adams, George Brown, Callum Lewis, Conall Mason, Subs Matt Heaton, Will Cole, Mattie Holmes