Guts and glory win for Spalding

Harry Harrison kicked the match-winning penalty for Spalding RFC against Mansfield at Memorial Field.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Harry Harrison kicked the match-winning penalty for Spalding RFC against Mansfield at Memorial Field. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • West and Harrison penalties squeeze Town past big pack opponents
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MIDLANDS TWO EAST (NORTH): Spalding 9 Mansfield 8

Bruno Figuireido’s Spalding side dug deeper than they have done all season to clinch a battling win over Mansfield - the side just above them in the table.

It was a good game, the boys had a good attitude, showed good discipline and won the game

Bruno Figuireido, Spalding 1st XV coach

In a game played on a muddy and testing pitch, the Elephants struck first with a James West penalty after just two minutes at Memorial Field.

But in a game where character would be sorely tested, Town conceded a try from a five-minute scrum close to their goal line where Mansfield’s Ollie Stamford took a crossfield pass to score in the corner.

Before that, Mansfield could have equalised with a John Ross Ward penalty on 10 minutes which was missed before Spalding debutant Tom Winch put in a try-saving tackle on 23 minutes to keep his side in front at that stage of the match.

Three minutes later, the home side benefited from a Mansfield mistake when another five-metre scrum should have led to the first try of the match but for a dropped pass just a metre from the try line.

West missed a penalty after the unconverted Mansfield try on 35 minutes, redeeming himself a minute later to give Town a slim 6-5 lead.

But two minutes before the break, Ward kicked a penalty himself to give Mansfield an 8-6 lead at half-time.

The conditions made sure that the game would be a low-scoring one and when West missed another penalty chance from 40 metres out after 47 minutes, the omens looked less than good for Figuireido’s men.

But a mass brawl on 53 minutes, the arrival of Harry Brown and Ed Booth to replace West and Jordan Templar two minutes earlier and an assured penalty from the increasingly influential Harry Harrison set Spalding up for their third league win in the last four matches.

Valiant defending from Adam McHugh, Sam Cowell, Mikey Watts and Pete Waudby saw Spalding home, aided by a late Mansfield knock-on when within metres of the Town try line.

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

“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.

“But we knew that if we didn’t make the same mistakes in the second half, we would win the game.”

Spalding 1st XV skipper Sam Cooke said: “It’s a big win, whether it’s by 10 points or under 5, and we needed to get a win.”

Meanwhile in Midlands Four (East) South, Deepings’ bright start to 2016 continued with a dramatic 29-22 derby win at Thorney to back up their home success over Stamford College Old Boys last weekend.

But the struggles continue for Bourne who suffered a damaging 57-12 mauling at Bedford Swifts.

The Special One at Spalding RFC

Spalding ready for battle