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Ashbourne 1st XV 16 - 23 Spalding 1st XV

Midlands 2 East (North)

Last Updated: Apr 8, 2014 04:11pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Richard Spurr
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 This was always going to be a tough match for Spalding as they travelled to the Derbyshire dales for the second week running, and having lost twice already this season to Ashbourne and with the hosts only one place behind them in the league nothing could be taken for granted.       

Spalding certainly had to work hard for their victory, especially in the last ten minutes of the match when they resisted much pressure with only fourteen players on the field of play as one had a ten minute spell on the touch due to receiving a yellow card.           

Spalding chose to start with the advantage of the slope and the wind on a sticky surface with showers of rain due during the duration of the match.     

Ashbourne kicked off and Spalding cleared to find touch on the half way line.     

Spalding won the ball and drove forward only to be held up by the home side’s forwards who regained possession before knocking on.   Spalding won the scrum and Harry Brown broke from the base of the set piece. He made 20 metres before being stopped but the home side were penalised for going over the top and Spalding had their first opportunity. James West struck the ball sweetly and his kick went clean between the posts to open his side’s scoring with only five minutes of the match having been played.     Ashbourne restarted and play was mainly in the Spalding half.    

Ashbourne were awarded a penalty on the 22 metre line and their kicker converted to make the scores level after 12 minutes.    In the build up to this the Spalding winger Hamish Munroe received a cut to his head and was replaced by Ed Booth.   

Spalding restarted and play was deep in their opponents half. Their forwards linked together and the result was that Tom Duerden crashed over for the visitors first try. A good conversion from West took the scores to 3 – 10 after fifteen minutes. Spalding piled on the pressure but the resilient home team stuck to their task.    

Now on the wing Booth took the ball and beat his man with only one player to beat but he was tackled illegally and Spalding chose to kick for touch some 10 metres from the Ashbourne try line.     

Spalding won the line out but could not break the home defence before losing the ball allowing the home side to clear to touch 30 metres out.    

Spalding won the ball and came back at the home side again through one of their best spells of the match. Play was inside the home side’s 22 metre area. Another penalty was awarded to Spalding and West slotted the ball between the posts to take the match score to 3 – 13 after 25 minutes.    

Spalding broke clear with skipper Harry Sharman linking with Harry Brown and taking play to within 30 metres of the home side’s try line.  Spalding drove towards the home side line and full back Adam McHugh went over to score. West converted and the score was 3 – 20 with only a few minutes of the first half left to play.      

The last play of the first half was for Ashbourne to be awarded a penalty in the middle of the pitch, as Spalding were off side and the home side kicker converted to take the score to 6 – 20 as the half time whistle sounded.     

Munroe came back on for Spalding on the wing and full back McHugh moved to centre with Booth taking over the full back position and George Brown going on the bench.      

Spalding were soon back on the attack a move out to the left originated by Booth made good ground into the home defence. The ball went back across the field before a grub kick through the home defence saw Wes Cope racing through to touch down but it was not to be to the satisfaction of the referee and Ashbourne cleared.  The home side quickly moved the ball across field and caught out the visitors, they were outnumbered by the home side who made the advantage and scored in the left corner.    

No conversion took the score to 11 – 20 with still another 35 minutes to play.    

It was nearly ten minutes before Spalding had another break when they were awarded a penalty on the 22 metre line. West punished the home side and stretched the lead to 11 – 23.     

In the last quarter the home side using the advantage of the wind and the slope put pressure on the Spalding defence.  

The visitors held out until within five minutes of the final whistle.   

Ashbourne drove for the line and scored wide out but their kicker failed and the score went to 16 -23.        

The home side now had their spirits raised and pressed hard in the last few minutes and although they were awarded a penalty the kicker could not add anymore points and the referee blew the final whistle much to the relief of the visitors, who although having won the match were not able to claim the essential bonus point.

Spalding RFC 1st XV: Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby, Wes Cope, Alex Ioannou, Andy Hoyles, Tom Duerden, Ed Duerden, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, James West, Hamish Munroe, George Brown, Ryan Chappell, Harry Harrison, Adam McHugh, Josh Caley, Tim Waltham, Ed Booth.   

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