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Dogged defence but still a win!

Spalding 1st XV 27 - 15 Dronfield RFC 1st XV

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2014 10:07am
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geof Nicholls
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Spalding were determined to put the disappointments of the last two matches behind them and show their loyal supporters what they were capable of.

However the Dronfield team were dogged in their defence and it was not until the final ten minutes that Spalding were able to exert their superiority on the match as well as scoring four tries to give them the vital bonus point which brought back on level terms with league leaders Belgrave.          Dronfield kicked off on a bright afternoon with the advantage of a slight breeze.        Spalding were soon putting pressure on the Dronfield defence when an intercepted pass by the visitors took play deep into the Spalding half and although the Dronfield centre has pursued by the Spalding three quarters he was able to touch down leaving a simple conversion for the visitors kicker so that after only four minutes the visitors were seven points  ahead.      Undeterred Spalding were soon making their presence felt on the visitors defence.       Spalding won the ball from a line out, the ball came to the three quarters and Ryan Chappell cut inside to link with Jay Harwood to take play within ten metres of the visitors try line.    First of all an overlap was created of the right of the field but the final pass went astray.    Spalding won the scrum and the ball went wide on the left and although the home side were within ten metres of the visitors try line the dogged defence held strong until eventually from five metres out skipper Harry Sharman used his strength and guile to breach the Dronfield line and score.    The conversion went wide but after fifteen minutes the score was 5 – 7.    Immediately from the restart Spalding were back in their opponents’ 22 metre area.      A break by  Ed Duerden  who linked with Joss Finch brought play to within five metres of the visitors try line.    Spalding had the upper hand in the scrums and controlled most of the areas of play.    From a loose maul near the line Spalding prop Alex Ioannou crashed over only to be judged to have not touched down.     A five metre scrum resulted in the stronger Spalding pack wheeling the scrum only for the ball to go dead.   From the 22 metre drop out Dronfield took play up to the halfway line and were awarded a penalty.    Their kicker with the advantage of the breeze converted to take the score to 5 – 10 after thirty minutes of play.       From the restart Spalding were straight back in the visitors half of the field.   Winger Andy Lal fielded the ball and kicked ahead to take play to within six metres of the Dronfield try line.     The visitors cleared their lines, but it was not long before Spalding were again putting pressure on the visitors.   The home three quarters were all up and the ball went along the line but a neat interception by the visitors centre gave him a sprint of 70 metres to touch down wide of the posts.    The conversion went wide but the score at the end of the first half was 5 – 15.    Although Spalding had had most of the play and possession they had little to show for it by the half time break.      Spalding started the second half with the assistance of the wind and knowing what they had to do to take them back into the lead.       Within two minutes they had made their mark.   A penalty kick to touch took them to within 20 metres of their opponents try line.    They won the lineout and the ball went to inside centre Chappell who cut back inside and went through the Dronfield the defence without having a finger laid on him.    The conversion went wide but score was now 10 – 15.    The home side were constantly playing in their opponents 22 metre area.     Spalding were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and James West had no problem in converting to take the score to 13 – 15.      For the full second half all the play was in the visitors half but their defence held strong until the last ten minutes.    From a drop out by Dronfield winger Lal gathered the ball and tapped ahead and using his speed was through to touch down for his side’s third try.   West converted and the score was 20 -15.      With time running out Spalding were straight back on the attack.   From a scrum on the 22 metre line Spalding drove for the line with Ioannou and Finch going over together and the referee credit the score to Finch.   West converted to make the final score 27 – 15 but Spalding who had had the largest share of the possession all match had made their loyal supporters wait until the final minutes to gain a bonus point as well as a valuable win to put them in joint first place at the top of the league. 

Spalding RFC:  Harry Sharman (captain), Alex Ioannou, Jacob Harwood, Pete Waudby, Andy Hoyles, Tim Waltham, Josh Finch, Ed Duerden, Rob Lucas, James West, George Brown, Ryan Chappell, Harry Harrison, Andy Lal, Adam McHugh, Josh Caley, Tom Duerden, Ben Williams.

Photo: File pic

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