Spalding 1st XV 27 v 27 Oakham 1st XV

Last Updated: Mar 9, 2014 07:24pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geoff Nichols
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Spalding went into this match with the expectation of keeping their pressure on the side at the top of the table but it was not to be.

They had all the ingredients for a win with a strong side, a large crowd and although Oakham were next below them in the league the home side had a 19 point cushion but they did not do their chances of winning the league any good  as the league leaders Belgrave notched up a maximum points win with a score of 48 – 0.   

 The first half went well for Spalding but they certainly lost their way in the second half.     Oakham kicked off with the benefit of the wind blowing diagonally across the pitch .  From the start Wes Cope, who certainly had the best game since his return to the club, collected the ball and linked with Richie Craig to take play to within 20 metres of the Oakham try line.   The visitors cleared but again Spalding won the line out and spread the ball wide to the right wing.   The ball came back inside where Cope received the pass and used his strength from 20 metres out and scored.      James West added the conversion and within the first four minutes Spalding were leading by seven points.     Spalding were winning the majority of the possession both in loose play and open play.     Spalding were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch some five metres from the visitors try line.     They won the line out and drove for the line but the defiant visitors defence held them up and forced play into touch 10 metres out.   

Spalding won the lineout and the ball went along the line to winger Harry Harrison who used his considerable speed to outpace the opposition and score.    West converted and the score was 14 – 0 after ten minutes.   

From the restart Oakham were in the Spalding half and were awarded a penalty.     Their kicker made no mistake and opened the scoring for his team, making the score 14 – 3.     Spalding were awarded a penalty and West made touch on the 22 metre line.     They won the line out and broke from the back of the line with Ed Duerden driving for the line only to be stopped some two metres short, but in the move he damaged an ankle and had to leave the field and was replaced Tim Waltham.    

Spalding moved the ball along the line to the right wing where Andy Lal received it before passing back inside to centre George Brown who scored but a difficult kick for West against the wind meant  that the score was now 19 – 3 after 35 minutes.      Oakham came back from the restart and were awarded a penalty, taking the score to 19 – 6 with two minutes of the half left to play.     

The half time whistle sounded and there was no doubt that Spalding felt they had the opportunity to maximise their points in the second half of the match, but Oakham had different ideas.      

Within three minutes of the start of the second half Oakham had made their mark.     Having gained possession they spread the ball wide to the winger who crossed and the accurate Oakham kicker converted to make the score 19 -13.   This should have been a wakeup call for Spalding.    Within the next ten minutes Oakham were gaining in confidence as Spalding’s faith was disappearing.      Spalding made changes  with Rob Lucas moving to full back in place of Ed Booth and Ben Williams taking over the scrum half role.     But it did not influence the Oakham side as they were next to score again and having converted the try they were in the lead by 19 -20. 

Spalding worked the play into their opponents half, they won a line out and drove for the line involving all the forwards with Cope going over for his second try deep in the corner.      The conversion went wide but the score was 24 – 20 with fifteen minutes of the match left to play.   

The next to score was Oakham who broke through the Spalding defence to score wide of the posts but their kicker proved to on target again to take his side ahead with 24 – 27 and only minutes left to play.   

Spalding restarted and were soon in the opposition 22 metre area, Oakham infringed and Spalding were awarded a penalty.     West made no mistake and converted to level the scores at 27 – 27 after which the referee blew his whistle for the final time.      Spalding were disappointed at not achieving their target but Oakham were delighted having thwarted Spalding’s ambitions.

Spalding RFC:  Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby, Wes Copley, Alex Ioannou, Andy Hoyles, Ed Duerden, Richie Craig, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, James West , Andy Lal, George Brown, Ryan Chappell, Harry Harrison, Ed Booth, Sam Cooke, Tim Waltham, Ben Williams. 

Photographs: Adrian Smith


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