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Spalding on the Heels of League Leaders

Nottingham Casuals 6 - 32 Spalding 1st XV

Last Updated: Mar 2, 2014 07:06pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geoff Nichols
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Spalding travelled to Nottingham with high expectations of a win bonus and they were not to be disappointed, but it could have been much easier had not a resilient home side stuck to their task for long periods.    

The win keeps Spalding in touch with league leaders Belgrave but Spalding still have a game in hand and the result of that extra match will not be apparent until on the last Saturday of this month.          

Nottingham Casuals kicked off with the slight breeze in their favour. Spalding were soon penalised for off side leaving what looked like a simple penalty conversion within the visitors side’s  22 metre area, but their kicker totally fluffed the kick and it went very wide of its target.   

It was then another fifteen minutes before Spalding had their first opportunity. As a result of being offside the visitors were similarly offered a penalty some 30 metres out but directly in front. James West had no problem in opening his side’s score with the successful conversion.  Similarly within the next three minutes Spalding were awarded another penalty which West successfully converted to make the score 0 – 6.       

But the next chance went to the home side with a penalty opportunity which on this occasion their kicker had much more success by opening their score after 20 minutes. Spalding  started to play more in the home side’s half. Spalding were awarded a penalty, they kicked for touch to the five metre line. They won the lineout and drove from the line before being stopped. They won a scrum some ten metres out, wheeled to the right and number eight Ed Duerden broke from the base and crashed over the line in full stretch to score the visitors first points.  West converted and after 30 minutes the score was 3 – 13.    

Although Spalding were on top of the match they were not able to add to their score in the first half with only one opportunity at the end of the half when awarded a penalty but on this occasion the ball sailed wide of the posts and the two sides turned around at 3 – 13.           

Spalding made some changes with Rob Lucas coming off the wing to take his place at scrum half, Harry Brown replaced Richie Craig, Ben Williams was replaced by Hamish Munroe.

Spalding kicked off the second half and were soon putting pressure on the home side’s defence. Spalding won a line out some 20 metres out the ball went along the three quarter line to winger Harry Harrison who was over in the corner. The conversion attempt went wide but with only four minutes of the second half having passed the score was 3 – 18. Casuals were determined  to make a comeback, having made some changes  in the side at half time they too were looking to pick up more points.      

They were awarded a penalty on the 22 metre line and their kicker converted to take the score to 6 – 18 after fifty minutes. Tom Duerden who had had a solid game in the second row made room for Richie Craig to return to the field. The Spalding defence held strong from persistent pressure by their opponents. In the end it was Spalding who came away and broke from deep.     

They won a lineout in their own half and full back Ed Booth made good ground before linking with Sharman, then Ed Duerden made the break on the left before getting the ball away to Harrison who crossed for his second try and came behind the posts leaving a simpler conversion, with West adding the two extra points, taking the score to 6 – 25 after 65 minutes.     

Spalding still needed their fourth  try to get their bonus point and it was not long in coming.  Immediately from the restart Spalding broke clear from their half with prop forward Alex Ioannou leading the charge he made 40 metres before being stopped close to the Casuals line.     

The ball quickly came back from the forwards and Rob Lucas playing at scrum half for the second half stepped inside his marker before crossing the line for the fourth try and bonus point for the visitors. West converted to make the score 6 – 32.    Sam Cooke came on for the exhausted Ioannou.    

Spalding had the opportunity for another score before the end of the match. From a scrum to Spalding near the centre of the pitch Spalding broke with Sharman leading his team.  Sharman was stopped five metres short of the Casuals try line.   

Spalding spread the ball wide along the line but on this occasion the final pass went astray and the final whistle went for the end of the match.

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

Harry Brown, Hamish Munroe.

Photo: File pic

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