Belgrave success just like ‘winning the league’ for Town

Spalding's first XVs after their win at Belgrave.  Photo by Peter Jullien.
Spalding's first XVs after their win at Belgrave. Photo by Peter Jullien.
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Spalding skipper Ryan Chappell has compared his side’s reaction to their last day win over fellow-relegated Belgrave to “winning the league”.

After 26 defeats, 25 in Midlands One East, Chappell’s men finally had the sweet taste of victory last Saturday with a hard-earned 23-19 win over the side they came up with from Midlands Two East (North) last season.

We kept our heads up and thought we had a chance to win, given Belgrave’s position in the league.

Spalding Rugby Club skipper Ryan Chappel

The win at Belgrave Pastures was watched by a coachload of Spalding fans, including former captain Harry Sharman whose resignation and eventual departure from the club in February was the last bombshell in a season of eruptions that also saw the sacking of former coach Andy McMahon the month before.

After winning on the day of his 31st birthday, Chappell said: “I’m both proud and privileged to have played with the boys at Belgrave and that was probably the best performance from us, as a team, all season.

“The crowd was brilliant for the full 80 minutes and even when they scored two tries before half-time, we kept our heads up and thought we had a chance to win given Belgrave’s position in the league.

“Ash Piccaver had a big game at the lineouts, Tom Duerden made some good carries at lock and looking at the lad’s faces after the game, it was like winning the league.”

The season also represented a baptism of fire for coach Ben Williams who replaced McMahon for the last nine games of the season, as well as having to concede a Lincolnshire Senior Cup tie at Scunthorpe in March due to a lack of players available.

Williams said: “It was a joy and a pleasure to play with the boys, the young lads really stepped up to the mark and we finally got the win we’ve deserved.

“The season started off on a bad footing (with a 32-21 home defeat to Belgrave) and never really picked up from there.

“But now I’m a little bit disappointed that the season has come to an end.”