Fireworks with stunning finish for Spalding’s first league win

ON THE ATTACK: Taylor Crowson races forward for his second-half try which set up the dramatic finish in Spalding's victory over Nottingham Casuals. Photos (TIM WILSON): SG071115-129TW
ON THE ATTACK: Taylor Crowson races forward for his second-half try which set up the dramatic finish in Spalding's victory over Nottingham Casuals. Photos (TIM WILSON): SG071115-129TW
  • Midlands Two East (North) - Spalding 26 Nottingham Casuals 22

This match was a cracker with Nottingham Casuals in control of the first half but with Spalding staying in touch, followed by a fully committed display in the second half culminating in a remarkable last 10 minutes.

Squad selection was from a position of relative strength but as usual with one or two changes.

NO STOPPING HIM: Man of the match Harry Harrison. SG071115-121TW

NO STOPPING HIM: Man of the match Harry Harrison. SG071115-121TW

Jim Williams came in at scrum-half for injured Will Shields and Taylor Crowson was making his first start at fly-half rather than his normal wing position.

Early exchanges on a damp surface soon demonstrated that Casuals had an upper hand in the forwards and it was not to long before a driving maul established a good field position.

The ball was spun out to the backs who scored by the posts for a converted try.

This was followed by further attacks and Ash Piccaver, having made a tackle, was caught not rolling away and a successful penalty kick gave the visitors an early 10-point advantage.

A few minutes later Spalding set up a counter-attack from deep in their half with initially full-back Jos Broome bursting forward, linking with centre Ben Williamson who was brought down.

Casuals were penalised at the ensuing ruck. Quick thinking by Harry Sharman, with a tapped penalty, drew an illegal tackle within 10 metres and Casuals were down to 14 players for 10 minutes.

Winger Harry Harrison capitalised with a stunning run going in and out of players before offloading to Sharman to jog under the post for Broome to convert.

Lock Mikey Watts was carried off having sustained a leg injury with Ben Williams coming off the bench.

Half-time was beckoning but a poor Spalding lineout call to the back was caught in the wind and lost. Casuals were over for their second try for a 15-7 lead.

With a strengthening wind advantage Spalding quickly gained territory with good tactical kicking from both Broome and Williams putting Casuals under pressure.

Man of the match Harrison was again in action, showing his speed down the wing before cutting back inside to score under the posts with Broome converting.

The temperature in the match was now building with both teams battling for every inch of territory as the narrowest of margins separated them.

With play ebbing and flowing Casuals found themselves in Spalding territory and as they gained yardage Spalding were caught offside several times and the referee finally yellow-carded Kier Moore. Casuals now with a superior scrum drove home their advantage and were awarded a penalty try for an eight-point cushion.

With a player down, the whole of the Spalding team rose to the challenge and took the game to Casuals.

The ball was spread out to the right and centre Sion Williams put Crowson into space. Casuals closed in but Crowson stepped inside, dived over the final defensive tackle and touched down for a wonderful try and with an excellent conversion by Broome.

Sharman took the ball on and released Harrison in for the winning try. In disbelief the referee disallowed it for a forward pass and shortly 
afterwards Harry Brown was yellow-carded as the competition in the forwards became intense.

Spalding pressed and a kick deep into Casuals’ corner gained territory.

The lineout was won by the visitors but the ball was untidy and taken back towards their try line. The ruck was secured by Casuals but it was right on the try line.

George Brown was hovering and realising the ball had become free, he tapped down.

The try was awarded with the game won on the last play of the match for Spalding’s first league victory of the season in a stunning finish.