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Conditions fail to help Spalding

Spalding 1st XV 0 v 35 Kettering 1st XV

Last Updated: Feb 4, 2015 05:54pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geof Nichols
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Kettering came to Spalding riding high in Midlands One league challenging the top two teams for that promotion place at the end of the season. To face them Spalding were fielding perhaps one of their strongest teams. Tom Deurden was back in at lock paired with Mark Haighton and with Harry Sharman returning to his familiar position of open side flanker. In the backs Adam McHugh was in at fullback after a couple of games in the seconds having recovered from a broken finger and Ben Williamson was making his first start of the season on the left wing.

With a snow shower at 11.am leaving the pitch rather slippery under foot and with temperatures hovering around zero centigrade the game was set for a rather old fashion match with the forwards likely to be dominate and the ball difficult to handle.

The early exchanges showed that both teams were up for the match in front of a rather good crowd. Kettering’s scrum had the edge and with the difficult handling conditions and plentiful “knock on’s”  this gave the visitors an attacking advantage but it was 20 minutes into the game before Kettering’s No 7 Josh Block was able to squeeze his way over the try line for a converted try

Spalding came back but found it difficult to gain territory in the conditions. Adam McHugh bursting forward from fullback was making yardage but the visitors defence held firm on every occasion. Spalding’s two wingers, Ed Booth and Ben Williamson were having too come inside to look for the ball in the cold conditions to get into the game.

With half time approaching both teams were cancelling out each other’s attacking efforts through stout and well organised defences but the Kettering forwards were driving forward and their prop Josh Cox crashed over for a converted try to establish a lead of 14 points to nil

At half time Ben Williams in his first match as First Team coach made a couple of changes to the team with Kev Childs replacing McHugh at fullback and George Brown replacing Williamson on the left wing. It was not long before Kettering were testing Childs with a couple of high kicks and not only did he show how safe a catcher he was but with a bit of space he was able to gained 20 or 30 metres every time for the home team. But the visitors were gaining more control of the game and 20 minutes into the second half their outside centre Joe Newman found a hole between Jos Broome and Sion Williams to sail under posts for a further converted try

Spalding’s response was positive and the forwards led by Sam Cooke and Harry Sharman gathered in possession and established a couple of excellent driving mauls but it was proving difficult to put any pressure on the visitors try line. Mid way during the second half Kettering sealed the match  with first their fly half Andy Byrne going over followed a couple of minutes later by their hooker Steve Fraher. Jimmy Rowlands also made a welcome return to Spalding’ first team coming off the bench for Jacob Hutson.  In the final minutes Spalding were camped on Kettering’s try line but just could not finish of some good work. 

Kev Child’s playing only the second half made a considerable impact on the game and was voted Man of the Match

Team   Waudby, Cooke, Hutson, Haighton, Deurden, Richardson, Sharman, H Brown, Shields, Broome, Williamson, Chappell (Captain), S Williams, Booth, McHugh, G Brown, J Rowands, Childs  

Photo: File pic       

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