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Top of the table away clash for Spalding

Belgrave RFC 1st xv 43 v Spalding RFC 1st xv 6

Last Updated: Jan 5, 2014 08:19pm
Spalding St. John's, South Holland
By Geof Nicholls
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Belgrave RFC 1st xv 43 v Spalding RFC 1st xv 6

Spalding travelled to Belgrave in Leicester for the first match of the second half of the season, in a top of the table clash and were only second best for the whole of the match.     

At the start of the match Spalding were top of the league with a four point lead, but by the time the final whistle sounded they were in second place, one point behind Belgrave.    

On an afternoon when only three matches took place in the league due to the conditions of the pitchs, the Belgrave club needs congratulating on having a playable surface for the match, which although sticky by full time, there was no standing water.    Spalding kicked off and from the start it was evident that the visitors were not up for the ferocity that the home side showed, it was their opportunity to topple the league leaders and they were more up for it than their visitors.      

However it took 20 minutes before the Belgrave opened the scoring.     

Spalding cleared from deep with full back Adam McHugh taking play up field by 30 metres, however his pass was intercepted by the Belgrave centre who raced away to open the scoring in the corner. The conversion went wide but the first points were to the home side 5 – 0.  

There then followed one of the better spells for the Spalding side.   

Skipper Harry Sharman chipped ahead to find touch some 15 metres short of the home side’s try line. From the line out the visitors were awarded a penalty and found touch 5 metres out. Spalding lost their own lineout and Belgrave cleared to only 15 metres.     On this occasion Spalding won the line out and drove through the centre led by Tom Duerden before linking back to Sharman but they were held up within touching distance of the line. The referee adjudged Belgrave to be off side, and to secure points James West converted the penalty to make the score 5 – 3 after 25 minutes.      

Belgrave were proving to be much stronger in the set scrum and frequently drove the visitors backwards, in fact it was only through some clever quick healing in the scrum that Spalding won any ball in the set piece. Spalding were pinned back in their 22 metre area.    

A line out to Belgrave resulted in their forwards driving for the line to score their second try and their kicker converted to take the score to 12 – 3 after 30 minutes of the match. A similar move a few minutes later led to another converted try for the home side with only five minutes of the first half remaining. Spalding reacted and from the restart drove into the oppositions 22 metre area.      Tom Duerden again drove straight for the line but was held up short.      

Spalding were awarded a penalty and the ball was passed out to the right before coming back inside, and as a result Spalding were awarded another penalty from which West added another three points for his side.     

With only two minutes of the first half left and a score of 19 – 6 Belgrave were not finished from a line out the ball was spun down the line for their threequarters to score. The conversion was successful as the half time whistled sounded and the score was 26 – 6 in favour of the home side.       

From the restart it was generally much the same as in the first half, although Spalding defended for the first 20 minutes similarly as in the first period.    

For the next score  Belgrave were awarded a penalty they kicked for touch, won the lineout and drove for the line to score. The conversion was successful and the score moved to 33 – 6 after 60 minutes of the match.        

The visitors did what they could to limit the scoring opportunities for the home side but two scores were made in the final five minutes of the match neither being converted.       

After this match Spalding should be well aware of the standard they have to achieve to maintain their top position in this league for which they were just not good enough in this match.

Spalding RFC:     Harry Sharman (captain), Alex Ioannou, Jay Harwood, Peter Waudby, Tim Waltham, Tom Duerden, Josh Finch, Ed Duerden, Rob Lucas, James West, Dan Cooper, George Brown, Ryan Chappell, Matty Newman, Adam McHugh, Josh Caley, Jason Steels, Luke Scotne

Photo: File pic

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