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Spalding 21 - 32 Belgrave

Midlands One East

Last Updated: Sep 7, 2014 09:29pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geof Nichols
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This season’s opening match had been eagerly awaited by the two teams as both were promoted at the end of last season to Midlands One East with Belgrave as champions.

In excellent conditions and with a big crowd in the corresponding match that last year Spalding had scrapped home by a one point margin and a similar result would be a good start to this year’s campaign.

Spalding opened the scoring in the 3rd minute with a well taken penalty by Rob Lucas playing at fly half. The home team’s forwards were controlling the early opening exchanges with some excellent driving thrusts. Unfortunately possession was lost as Harry Brown burst forward and Belgrave immediately counter attacked through their speedy left wing, who touched down in the corner for the first converted try. It was a very similar story on the quarter hour with Belgrave using their speed on the wing for an unconverted try to go 12 – 3 up.

Spalding continued their tactical ploy of keeping procession tight around the breakdown area and Jeremy Daley making his debut at lock dived over for his first try for the Club, which was successfully converted by Rob Lucas and with a further successful penalty Spalding were now just ahead by 13 points to 12. However this lead did not last long in this highly competitive match, which was going from one end to another, with Belgrave successfully converting a penalty kick.

On the half hour perhaps the turning point of the match occurred. Spalding had successfully kicked downfield with Belgrave taking the ball into touch for a lineout to the home team but the opposition held onto the ball denying the opportunity of a quick throw. Jay Harwood playing at hooker had a “red mist moment” and was dismissed from the field for throwing a punch. Spalding were now down to 14 players for the next 60 minutes of the match and just before half time Belgrave spun the ball wide and again their left winger outpaced Spalding’s defence to consolidate their lead.

With Ben Williams having moved into the front row and Harry Sharman switching to scrum half and encouraged by the crowd Spalding took the initiative with Ash Piccaver and Cal Thomson showing how to break the Belgrave defensive line. Unfortunately Harry Sharman suffered a broken nose and replacements Tom Duerden, Peter Waudy and young Josh Broome also making his first team debut came off the bench to add fresh legs. Tom Duerden  took the game to Belgrave with some outstanding bursts through the middle and an unexpected comeback beckoned through a penalty kick and prop Alex Loannou burrowing over for a converted try and all of a sudden Spalding had a one point advantage.

However in the last ten minutes Belgrave’s superior numbers in the scrum finally told and having been awarded a penalty 10 metres from the try line they elected to take a scrum and drove the Spalding 7 man pack back to the try line to regain the lead and in the last minute with the Spalding defence stretched to breaking point the final converted try was run in by Belgrave to deny Spalding a losing bonus point with a final score line Spalding 21 Begrave 32

This match demonstrated that it is going to be a challenging season in Midland One East against some of the big town teams such as Derby, Mansfield and the Leicester clubs but the Spalding squad with its blend of experienced players and some exciting youngsters coming through and the team spirit demonstrated in this match it should mean that Spalding have the potential to give a good account of themselves over the next few months.            

Spalding RFC :   Harry Sharman (captain), Alex Ioannou, Jimmy Rowlands, Jay Harwood, Ash Piccaver, Jeremy Darley, Cal Thomson, Harry Brown, Ben Williams, Rob Lucas, Hamish Munro, Ryan Chappell, Sion Williams, George Brown, Adam McHugh, Pete Waudby, Tom Duerden, Josh Broome.

Photo: File pic

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