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Spalding RFC 1st xv 24 v Newbold on Avon RFC 1st xv 14

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2014 09:28pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geof Nichols
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Spalding were playing for promotion into Midlands Two East against the second placed side in Midlands Two East South and the match remained on a knife edge until the final five minutes when Spalding were able to increase their lead with only two minutes left to play leaving a nigh impossible situation for the visitors to reply.           

In front of one of the largest crowds, estimated at 400, at the Memorial Field for a number of years Spalding kicked off with the assistance of the wind and they were soon rewarded with a penalty on the 22 metre line.   James West had no hesitation and opened his side’s score with a clean conversion after only three minutes.     

Spalding made good use of the ball and skipper Harry Sharman and hooker Wes Cope broke through the Newbold defence but were stopped before the home side could take advantage of the move. An undeterred Newbold side hit back and after nine minutes were awarded a penalty into the strong wind the kicker managed to convert to take his side to a 3 – 3 score.      Spalding were constantly looking for opportunities and a quick throw in by Cope from which he regained the ball before passing to Tom Duerden who was stopped some ten metres short of the line. But the referee was not happy with the way Duerden had been stopped and West converted his second penalty to make the score 6 – 3 after 15 minutes.    

Again Spalding attacked with left winger Harry Harrison making progress before being stopped. Newbold hit back and took play into the home side’s half where they were awarded a penalty. Into difficult conditions the kicker converted to level the score at 6 - 6 after 22 minutes. Spalding were awarded a penalty and West kicked for position finding touch some ten metres from the visitors try line. Spalding were awarded another penalty and Cope took a quick tap breaking through a tackle before passing to Sharman who crossed the line wide near the left touch and made some metres before touching down. West converted to take the score to 16 – 6 after 30 minutes of the first half.     

As the first half was drawing to a close Newbold were putting pressure on the home side’s forwards and from a lineout close to the Spalding line they drove forward and touched down. The conversion went wide and as the half time whistle blew the score was 16 – 11 with Spalding just keeping their noses ahead.      

The second half commenced with Spalding playing into the wind but the advantage of the score was in their favour.      Spalding made some positional changers. George Brown was replaced by Ed Booth with Adam McHugh moving from full back to inside centre.      

Spalding broke out of defence with Sharman feeding his winger Harrison who made space before being bundled into touch.   From the line out Sharman cleared with a diagonal kick across field just bouncing into touch some 15 metres from the visitors try line. Spalding won the line out and drove for the line, but their reward was a penalty. West converted to increase his side’s score to 19 – 11 after 15 minutes of the second half.      

Spalding made further changes with Ben Williams coming on for Cope, Ian Knight on for Alex Ioannou and Josh Finch on for Tom Duerden. Spalding were then subjected to a period of some 15 minutes of considerable pressure from the visitors.They resisted  everything that visitors could throw at them and eventually broke out with the inevitable Sharman leading the way before linking with Harrison, and Booth to take the ball to the far end of the pitch.     

But it was the visitors who were awarded a penalty just inside the Spalding half and on this occasion they kicked the penalty which took the score to 19 – 14 with less than five minutes left to play. From the restart Spalding took play to within 15 metres of the Newbold line.     

Spalding made further changes bringing back Cope to hooker and moving Williams to scrum half as well as moving Tom Duerden back in to the scrum. A final effort was required and this was certainly evident. Spalding had a scrum and drove for the line with the ball at the base of the scrum it was Williams who drove over for the final score and with only two minutes left all the team and the large number of Spalding supporters were certain the team had done enough with a score of 24 – 14.  

It had been a thrilling match for both sides and shortly afterwards the referee blew for full time much to the jubilation of the majority of the spectators.

Spalding RFC  Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby,Wes Cope, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Andy Hoyles, Ed Duerden, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, James West, Hamish Munro, Ryan Chappell, George Brown, Harry Harrison, Adam McHugh, Ian Knight, Ben Williams, Josh Finch, Ed Booth.

Photo: file pic

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