SPALDING RFC’s thriving junior section enjoyed great success on three fronts in the NLD Cup over the weekend.
While Town’s under-13 side were storming into the final with a comprehensive semi-final triumph over Sleaford, the U/10s were busy sharing the overall crown with rivals Stamford and the U/9s picked up the runners-up gong in the Bowl.
The under-10s started the club’s charge for silverware in fine style. After qualifying for the three counties cup competition last year, Sunday brought about the chance to avenge last year’s final defeat.
Despite being drawn in a tough qualifying pool with Derby and Mansfield at Market Rasen, Spalding started superbly.
They defeated a very strong Derby team 1-0 with a great try from George Craig, then followed that up with a hugely impressive 6-0 defeat of Mansfield. Some excellent tries were scored, with William Wand, Seamus O’Hagan and the ever impressive George Craig all on target.
Excellent tacking by Jack Patrick, Ollie Keen, Will Neal, Charlie Beecham and Adam Johnson meant that Mansfield were never able to get on the scoresheet.
Newark – who won their group – awaited in the semi-finals, but were comprehensively outplayed by five-star Spalding, who cruised into the final to the tune of 5-0.
Facing a Stamford side that had beaten Town in last week’s Spalding festival final, it was always going to be a close clash.
Spalding conceded an early try, but fine tackling and excellent running saw Spalding move into a 2-1 lead.
They held that up until the dying seconds of the game, when Stamford were able to power over for an equalising try – ensuring the trophy was shared.
Special mentions go to Harry Maplethorpe, Ethan Allen and Ollie Machin, whose efforts ensured it was a special day for the under-10s.
Meanwhile, Town’s under-9s came so close to making a double at the same venue. Unbeaten in the pool stages, Spalding progressed to the semi-final where they played and beat Lincoln, as committed tackling and teamwork secured a place in the bowl final.
Sadly, the youngsters were edged out by a strong West Bridgford side and went down 2-1.
The tries during the day came from Hamish Waine, Toby Whitaker, Nathan May and Angus Bell. Angus Bell, Sam Chew, Alex Doughty, Bryn Richards, Cameron McCallum, Louis Pepe, Ben Faulder and Harry Hudson were the other players doing the club proud.
Elsewhere, Spalding’s under-13s completed the job in the second leg of their semi-final at Sleaford – booking a final with Glossop on April 29.
Boasting a 22-point advantage from the first leg, Town ran out 22-12 winners to secure an aggregate triumph of 49-17.
Alex Worth stormed over for the first try, which was converted by Oliver Johnson. Corey Lewis then broke clear and ran in the second after a lineout, although it went unconverted.
Sleaford battled back at the end of the half, but Spalding held firm to lead 12-0 at the interval.
Town’s superiority continued after the break, as good approach work from Mark Hendy and Tom Birdseye resulted in a penalty five metre out – from which Worth crashed over for an unconverted try.
A couple of Sleaford scores reduced the deficit on the day to just five points, but Spalding refused to lie down.
Johnson, Harry Wilkinson-Roberts and Fraser Leiper combined to win a penalty, from which man-of-the-match Worth twinkle-toed his way over for an unconverted try, putting the seal on a sensational weekend for Town.