Elephants aim for winning show to hit the road

Adam McHugh makes a tackle for Spalding in their one-point win over Mansfield at Memorial Field.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Adam McHugh makes a tackle for Spalding in their one-point win over Mansfield at Memorial Field. Photo by Tim Wilson.

MIDLANDS TWO EAST (NORTH): Spalding 9 Mansfield 8

Three successive home wins have put Spalding on a high not seen since their promotion-winning season two years ago.

More evidence of renewed confidence came with a tight 9-8 win over Mansfield at Memorial Field, a success built on “good attitude and good discipline”, according to coach Bruno Figuireido.

Two penalties by fly-half James West set up a match-winning kick by centre Harry Harrison 18 minutes from full-time when the Elephants were 8-6 down after a first-half try by Mansfield’s Ollie Stanford and penalty by John Ross Ward.

Figuireido said: “It was a good game, the boys had a good attitude and showed good discipline to win.

“In the first half, we got into Mansfield’s 22 a lot but then made a few mistakes which is normal on such a heavy pitch.

I told the boys that if we played to our style and didn’t make the same mistakes, we’d win the game

Bruno Figuireido, Spalding 1st XV coach

“At half-time, I told the boys that if we played to our style and didn’t make the same mistakes in the second half, it could make the difference and we’d win the game.

“So we focused well, had a good defence and played at the same level for the rest of the match.”

Spalding’s win was built mainly in defence as man-of-the-match Sam Cowell, skipper Sam Cooke, Pete Waudby, Jordan Templar, Mikey Watts and Ash Piccaver proved themselves to be rocks in the Town front row.

Cooke said: “It’s a big win, whether it’s by 10 points or under five, and we needed to get the win against a Mansfield side with a big pack.

“We were camped in their half for almost all of the first half and we all dug in when Mansfield scored their try.

“There was a lot of pressure on Harry Harrison for the winning kick but he and some of the other younger players stepped up.”

The win over Mansfield marked the return of ex-Peterborough Lions winger Tom Winch to Town as they look to take their revival away to second-placed Market Bosworth on Saturday.

There are injury worries over West who came off with a strained hamstring on Saturday, a blow softened by the return of Harry Brown to the back line.

Winch, who played for Spalding as a junior, said: “It was nice to come back to a winning team because we were struggling for some form and everybody was geared up for the game which is encouraging and I plan on staying.”

Guts and glory win for Spalding