Spalding’s future in Midlands Two East (North) has come down to four games after a damaging defeat to West Bridgford at Memorial Field on Saturday.
The Elephants went toe to toe with their Nottingham-based opponents and ended the first half level pegging at 7-7 after wingers Harry Harrison and George Douglas combined, with the latter touching down to cancel out West Bridgford’s lead.
We should have taken a point from the game, at the very least.George Reid, director of coaching at Spalding Rugby Club
But a combination of missed tackles, handling errors, tired limbs and poor kicking allowed West Bridgford to take the game right away from Town whose fight for survival now rests on the outcome of trips to Stamford (March 19) and bottom side Bakewell Mannerians (April 9).
Coupled with them are games at home to Ashbourne (April 2) and Coalville (April 16) with none of Town’s four remaining opponents currently in the top three of the league.
Spalding coach Bruno Figuireido said: “For the first 15 minutes, we defended well with great discipline and concentration.
“Then they put us under pressure and scored a try but we put in some good work, some good, hard tackles and pushed West Bridgford all the way.
“We took a kick downfield and George Douglas scored at a time when every player was stepping up, even those who were playing out of position.”
But far from being downcast, new director of coaching George Reid claimed both he and Figuireido had been given plenty to build on with the players between now and the trip to Stamford whose title challenge has gone from one defeat in their first eight league games to just two wins in the last ten.
Reid said: “We should have taken a point from the game, at the very least, because we ran West Bridgford all the way.
“Realistically, we had the opportunities but just couldn’t capitalise on them so we’re just going to work hard on our fitness, ball carrying and retention.”
However, skipper Sam Cooke left no doubt as to the desire Town have to stay a Midlands Two East (North) side.
Cooke said: “We want to be in this division as it’s a motivation for the younger lads, so we don’t want to drop down and that’s the target for us now.”