After some excellent results against league leaders, Stockwood Park and Stamford, back in November/December, Spalding form had gone into reverse recently with two league defeats and a Lincs Cup loss, in the last minute, against Lincoln.
With visitors Northampton BBOB lying second from bottom, it was an opportunity for Spalding to get their season back on track
The starting fifteen reflected the team selection from the Huntingdon game with young Will Cole retaining the No 6 shirt and with Jacob Greaves returning after a few weeks absent at prop, whilst the bench looked strong with Ryan Chappell, Miguel Da Silva and MacCauley Crane to bring fresh legs on or in Eddie Jones terminology “finishers”.
Similar to last week, against Huntingdon, Spalding started the game looking the better team, quicker to the breakdown and having the confidence to pass the ball around to open the game up. However, also similar to last week, the referee started to penalise Spalding for a number of penalty infringements and each time Northampton were given the chance to gain territory with some excellent kicks to touch.
With a quarter of an hour on the clock, Spalding established a ruck in the opposition twenty two. Mysteriously the ball emerged on BBOB’s side and Luke Turner drove in only to be yellow carded.
This made Spalding more determined, as within a couple of minutes, a break down the left wing saw Matty Holmes put into space and ran through BBOB’s flaying tackles, to score behind the post and with Conall Mason converting, Spalding were up and never looked back
Spalding were now rampaging over the opposition with Will Cole making a superb break only to be caught, followed by Reece Callaby showing his pace but again brought down and both players with injures were replaced by Ryan Chappell and Miguel Da Silva
Fresh legs helped launch Spalding’s next score, winning the ball at the breakdown and scrum half Ben Shields passed the ball out wide, were suddenly the opposition were outnumbered, four to one in, the backs as centre George Brown pass saw Mason turning his opposite number inside out and ran unchallenged for Spalding’s second try.
BBOB’s then stepped up their game using a set piece move from a lineout to set up an un-stoppable driving maul to score their only try plus a successful conversion.
As half time approach Spalding forwards were making inroads with their carries led by Harry Sharman, Ryan Chappell and Harry Cole and saw Ash Anker continue the movement, evaded two tackles and driving over for his first try of the afternoon
The second half resumed with Spalding in confident mood with good handling between the forwards and the backs. Fly Half, Willis Ingleby with centre Dan Adams drawing the BBOB’s defence wide spotted a gap opening and pressed his accelerator. With no BBOB able to lay a hand on him, Ingleby touched down having run from near the half way line for another brilliant individual try and the bonus point secured.
Although missing Jordan Templer in the lineout, Ash Anker was proving to be as dominant giving excellent ball for Shields to pass out to the backs. But it was not long before he starred again out in open play as he again burst through BBOB’s weakening defence for his second try. His reward was to be substituted, bring on MacCauley Crane for the remain 30 minutes.
Into the last twenty minutes Spalding were full of running, whilst BBOB’s were starring at a heavy defeat. With the ball again being passed securely, centres Adams and Brown made inroads with their pace, releasing Holmes to grab his second try. Meanwhile left winger, Ed Booth, although having several runs, could not find the space to make a decisive break.
Whenever BBOB threatened fullback Mason was there, never missed a tackle or clearing his lines with his excellent relieving kicks. But he is proving a real threat when entering to joins the backs in attack. With a good pass from Brown he showed real pace, cut back inside to score unopposed near the posts and with his successful conversion Spalding were looking formidable.
The final try was again created by the pressure being applied by the forwards, keeping possession, with good carries and secure rucks. Within touching distance of the try line, BBOB were penalised. Quick thinking Ingleby took a tap penalty and dived over the try line for the final score.
With eight tries scored Spalding, player coach Harry Sharman was pleased to see Spalding back in the groove and the good spirit within the team. However he felt there were still a number of areas that could be improved upon during training in the week ready for next week’s home Cup Match.
Team Jacob Greaves, John Barrett, Luke Turner, Harry Cole, Ash Anker, Will Cole, Reece Callaby, Harry Sharman, Ben Shields, Willis Ingleby, Ed Booth, Dan Adams, George Brown, Matty Holmes, Conall Mason Subs Miguel Da Silva, Ryan Chappell, MacCauley Crane