Coach fears Spalding have ‘a lot to work on’

Ash Piccaver scores the first try for Spalding at home to Dronfield last Saturday. Photo by Adrian Smith
Ash Piccaver scores the first try for Spalding at home to Dronfield last Saturday. Photo by Adrian Smith

Spalding coach Debbie Phillips has wasted no time in warning Town’s first XV that they have ‘a lot to work on’ ahead of their trip to winless Mansfield on Saturday.

But if the Sam Cooke-led side thought they would be evenly matched against their Nottinghamshire opponents, one look at the Midlands Two (East) North table would tell them otherwise.

Mansfield are eighth after narrow defeats to Nottingham Casuals and at Southwell last Saturday, conceding just 30 points in the process.

However, Town’s problems are clear to see when you consider that their 36-14 opening-day defeat at Coalville was followed by a 30-21 loss to Dronfield at Memorial Field on Saturday after the Derbyshire side ran in five tries to Spalding’s three.

Phillips said: “We got the tries from doing what we’ve been doing in training which is getting the ball out to the backs and utilising them.

“But we’ve got to get the forward situation sorted out and then implement a new platform to work from because when they are on the pitch, any platform we’ve worked on before doesn’t seem to happen.

“We seemed to play in phases, switching off and then switching back on again, whereas once we’ve had the first try scored against us, we’ve got to keep our heads up and say ‘it’s just one try’.

“There’s a lot to work on, with very small, silly mistakes that we have to take the consequences of when we give our opponents anything.”

Spalding started positively enough with a tenth-minute try by Ash Piccaver, converted by Josh Broome, before they went on to leak four tries and 22 unanswered points.

Phillips said: “We made some mistakes that we shouldn’t have made against Dronfield and they took advantage of it.

“But we’ve been through it and hopefully we’ll improve at Mansfield on Saturday.

“We’ve found it very hard to get rid of the curse of last season and, every game since then, we’ve been putting more points on the board.

“So we have to take some positives from that.”

Other positives included impressive tries by youngster Taylor Crowson and replacement Will Shields.

But with both Jacob Hutson and talisman Harry Sharman coming off injured, Phillips said: “We know what we’ve got to deal with and we’ve just got to get on with 
it.”

Midlands Two East (North): Bakewell Mannerians v West Bridgford, Coalville v Ashbourne, Dronfield v Stamford, Mansfield v Spalding, Market Bosworth v Southwell, Melbourne v Nottingham Casuals.