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On Fire & Ready for Promotion Battle

Spalding RFC 1st XV 70 - 13 Bakewell Mannerians RFC 1st XV

Last Updated: Apr 13, 2014 08:36pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geoff Nichols
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Spalding had the advantage of ex England and British Lions International player Richard Hill in their preparation for this crucial match and all the hard work and effort that had been put into two sessions the first one back in March and then before the start of the match against Bakewell was well worth the effort  for the team and the large number of supporters that had turned out to watch.    

This was a quality performance by the Spalding team and without the few spoilt opportunities and a calmer afternoon they could have scored many more points.  Spalding were playing for the home advantage in the playoffs for promotion and as the final results came after the match it was clear they had been awarded the home advantage in two weeks time.

Bakewell kicked off with the advantage of the wind. Spalding gathered the ball and captain Harry Sharman kicked ahead to take play into the visitors half. James West continued the move dribbling the ball and causing the Bakewell defence to knock on.         From the scrum Harry Brown broke clear and linked with his brother George, who avoided a number of would be tackles before slipping the ball to Tom Duerden to score the first try. The conversion went wide, but after only five minutes Spalding showed that they were determined to make the most out of the afternoon.    

From the restart Sharman again broke clear and took play up to within a few metres of the try line before passing to second row player Andy Hoyles who scored but the difficult wind resulted in no conversion.  Within seven minutes the score had moved to 10 – 0.  Again Spalding collected the ball from the restart and practically all the team had a hand in the next move, which resulted Sharman crossing for his side’s next score but again the wind had the better of the conversion which went wide and the score was now 15 – 0 after only 12 minutes of the match.     

Not to be out done Bakewell made the restart and took play into the home side’s  22 metre area, they were awarded a penalty and a quickly taken tap penalty resulted in them opening their score but the conversion went wide. The scores were coming quickly and as the home side restarted Bakewell knocked on. The scrum went to Spalding and Sharman broke clear. He linked with Tom  Duerden who was stopped ten metres short of the try line but managed to pass the ball to his supporting brother Ed Duerden who went over to score his sides fourth try in the first 18 minutes giving his side the valuable bonus point that they might need. The conversion was again caught in the wind but the score was 20 – 5.   

A determined Spalding team kept the pressure on the visitors and for the next score the whole team were involved again taking play to within ten metres of their opponents try line.   

They were awarded a penalty and a quick tap by Wes Cope using his speed and determination resulted in him touching down just wide of the posts and leaving a simpler conversion for West to take the score to 27 -5.   The next score came within a few minutes. Bakewell kicked into the Spalding half were the ever present Sharman collected the ball and kicked for touch.     Although it was Bakewell’s  throw in Spalding won the line out and drove for the line with Sharman crossing for his second try and West converted to make the score 34 – 5.     

There were still 15 minutes of the half to play.  Bakewell had one of their better spells and were awarded a penalty in front of the Spalding posts, which their kicker converted to make the score 34 – 8.    

Next to score was Spalding centre Ryan Chappell who collected the ball on the half way line and his weaving run broke a number of attempted tackles before he was clear and scored close to the posts leaving West a simple conversion making the score 41 – 8 at half time.        

Spalding started the second half still as determined as they had been in the first half. The next score came from a move in which George Brown broke through tackles before passing to Sharman who passed a beautiful looping pass to winger Harry Harrison to score wide out. West converted and the second half was on course.      

Five minutes later after Spalding had resisted pressure from the visitors, they won a line out some 40 metres from the visitors try line. Sharman linked with Chappell and the ball went into touch. Spalding won the line out and drove for the line with Sharman carrying the ball at the back.  

At the last moment he slipped the ball to Cope who scored his second try, but the conversion went wide. With 52 minutes having passed the score was 53 – 8.     

Within five minutes Spalding were back in the Bakewell 22 metre area.   A knock on by Spalding gave the visitors a scrum Spalding won the ball and wheeled the scrum before Sharman broke off with the ball and scored his third try, but the conversion went wide.    Five minutes passed before Spalding were in a similar position.   

Again the scrum was wheeled and Sharman broke at the back, linked with Ed Duerden to score his second try. But with no conversion the score was 63 – 8.  Bakewell played right until the final whistle and kept the pressure on the home side for as long as they could.  They were rewarded when Spalding knocked on and the referee allowed Bakewell the advantage to take the ball forward and score.   

Now with a score of 63 – 13 and five minutes left to play Spalding made a repeat performance of an earlier try.    They won the ball 15 metres out from the line.  Drove to the line with the ever present Sharman hanging on to the ball before slipping it to Cope to score his third try and West converted to make the score 70 – 13.    

The final whistled sounded and Spalding had done what was required to earn a home tie for the final promotion place in two weeks time. The team, the crowd and the coaching team supported by Richard Hill had experienced a wonderful afternoon.

Spalding RFC:   Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby, Wes Cope, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Andy Hoyles, Ed Duerden, Harry Brown, Will Shields, James West, Hamish Munro, Ryan Chappell, George Brown, Harry Harrison, Adam McHugh, Sam Cooke, Josh Finch, Ed Booth.   

Photo: File pic

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