A Tense Comeback for Spalding

Loughborough RFC 1st xv 30 v Spalding RFC 1st xv 33

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2013 06:58pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geoff Nichols
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In the warm up for Saturday’s match against Loughborough RFC Sam Cooke sustained a suspected broken leg.

The accident seemed to put a dampener on Spalding but appeared to galvanise Loughborough as they completely dominating possession and territory during the opening 20 minutes. Using their forwards to drive holes in the Spalding defence it was no surprise that Loughborough scored their first try after 9 minutes. On one of the rare occasions that Spalding had possession they managed to pass the ball out to Andy Lal on the right wing and with an electric turn of pace he out sprinted the home team’s defence to score a try in the corner to level the score.

With Spalding off the pace of the game Loughborough continued to dominate and on the half hour ran in a well worked try in the corner by their inside centre. A few minutes later at a ruck in the middle of the pitch Loughborough appeared to have knocked the ball forward which was picked up by a Loughborough forward standing in an offside position. Spalding waited for the referee’s whistle, in vain, and a further converted try was scored by Loughborough. With successful penalties to both sides to follow the home team were up 23 points to 8 at the half time whistle and Spalding were starring at their first league defeat of the season.

 John Charlton playing fullback having sustained a knock was withdrawn and replaced by Ed Booth. The break seemed to make a difference to the Spalding team as, on the restart, they started to take the game to Loughborough with good possession rugby and for the first time in the match the home team were to put on the back foot. The first score of the second half was going to be vital to either team

Spalding then hit a purple patch of rugby and after some excellent handling by the forwards the ball was spun out along the three-quarters with Ben Williamson on the left wing scoring in the corner. Minutes later again the forwards won the contest for possession with Josh Finch, flanker, stealing the ball and breaking through the first tackle. From 30 metres out he evaded the cover defence to score under the posts giving the simplest of tasks to James West to convert. Spalding were rapidly closing the gap and Loughborough appeared to have no answer as they infringed giving a penalty kick to James West from 35 metres, which sailed through the middle of the posts.  All square.

The best move of the match followed. From deep in their own half Spalding counter attacked through centres Richie Craig and Gareth Ramsden. Coming from deep and at speed Ed Booth sliced through the initial Loughborough defence, drew the remaining cover and sent a wonderful scoring pass out to Andy Lal who ran in behind the posts for James West to convert and together with a further successful penalty Spalding lead by 33 points to 23. What a turnaround!

Loughborough immediately countered from the kick off and slack defence let the opposition in for a converted try. With only a 3 point difference the match was in the balance and with eight minutes remaining a late Tom Duerden tackle resulted in a yellow card and Spalding were down to 14 players. The resulting penalty kick just missed. Somehow Spalding managed to retain possession of the ball for most of the remaining tense minutes until final whistle blew. A stunning comeback .

Spalding RFC: Harry Sharman (captain), Peter Waudby, Jacob Harwood, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Tim Waltham, Josh Finch, Ed Duerden, Rob Lucas, James West, Andy Lal, Gareth Ramsden, Richie Craig, Ben Williamson, John Charlton, Sam Cooke, Matty Newman, Ed Booth.






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