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Spalding 1st 22 v 0 Melton Mowbray 1st

Midlands 2 East (North)

Last Updated: Feb 16, 2014 07:54pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geoff Nichols
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Spalding resumed their league programme after not playing for the last four weeks, having been suffering from unplayable pitches both at home and away during this period.     

However the elements on the afternoon did not auger well with a very strong wind, varying in strength through the match and the occasional shower did not make for open attacking rugby.     Spalding also welcomed back hooker Wes Cope into the side having returned after four years playing at a much higher level more recently at National One for Old Albanians.     

Spalding, having won the toss, chose to play against the elements in the first half and surprisingly they scored all their points in this first period.      Melton Mowbray kicked off but it was not long before the home side had opened their  account.      A penalty to Spalding was quickly taken and Tim Waltham made ground before being stopped some 15 metres from the line.     The ball came back quickly and went to the three-quarters, with James West using his speed to go over the line for his side’s first score.    West’s conversion attempt went wide greatly influenced by the strong wind.      

A large crowd of supporters who had braved the elements did not have to wait long before the next score.      Spalding were in control of the ball and from a scrum inside the Melton half they won the ball with Ben Williams breaking from the back before passing the ball to scrum half Rob Lucas who cut back inside to touch down close to the posts, leaving a simpler conversion for West who moved the score to 12 – 0 with a successful conversion.      

It was just another eight minutes before Spalding added to their score.     Spalding were awarded a penalty again because of the influence of the wind a quick one was taken and play took them to within ten metres of their opponents try line.      A scrum followed which was cleanly won and the ball went down the three-quarters to speedy winger Harry Harrison who outpaced the visitors cover to score in the corner.     A valiant attempt by West was just not quite good enough to add the conversion but the score after 15 minutes was now 17 -0 with Spalding moving smoothly along at this stage.       

Spalding were put under some pressure by the visitors but they soon broke out of the defence.     Wes Cope took a quick penalty and broke through the centre before being stopped.    Skipper Harry Sharman collected the ball and a quick off load to Cope sent the ball clear on the left where winger Harrison crossed for his second try far out and again the wind got the best of West’s kick.    

Spalding had now scored the four tries to secure the bonus point they need in the  first quarter of the match.      Further progress was thwarted in the remainder of the first half although an attack by the home side with centre George Brown linking with winger Andy Lal towards the end of the first half came to nothing.           

The second half commenced with great expectations for Spalding but conversely the elements, now in their favour, did not do them any favours.       The second half was played without any points for either side.      Spalding started well and were creating opportunities but most of them were defended by the visitors.    

As the match was drawing to a close a scrum to Spalding some 30 metres out resulted in Ed Duerden breaking down the narrow side and with one man to beat it looked to be a sure score for the home side but having drawn his man passed out side to Matty Newman the wind caught the ball and the passed was deemed to be forward.    

That was the way the match continued with no help for Spalding from the elements although they were in their favour.

Photo: file pic

Spalding RFC:   Harry Sharman captain, Pete Waudby, Wes Cope, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Tim Waltham, Richie Craig, Ben Williams, Rob Lucas, James West, Andy Lal, George Brown, Ryan Chappell, Harry Harrison, Adam McHugh, Sam Cooke, Ed Duerden, Matty Newman.

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