Losing habit goes on for winless Spalding

SIX OF THE BEST: Newark's Ben Usher scores of his six tries at Northern Park.  Photo by Adrian Smith.
SIX OF THE BEST: Newark's Ben Usher scores of his six tries at Northern Park. Photo by Adrian Smith.
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RUGBY UNION

After an enthralling first half at Northern Park in which Town were adrift by 36 points to 12, Newark ran riot in the second half, mainly through their outstanding wingers.

Ben Usher, in particular, shone having just returned from trials with the England Counties side for whom he has been selected to play for the U18s’ national squad

For this local derby match a good crowd turned up to see a crucial bottom-of-the-table encounter, with Newark also in the Midlands One East relegation zone. Spalding already looked doomed but if they were going to stage a miraculous relegation escape then they had to get something from this match.

As normal, team selection was hampered by injuries from the previous week as Luke Scotney came in at blindside flanker, while Tom Deurden was switched to lock alongside Ash Piccaver.

The half back pairing at Newark featured Richard Cooke at scrum, with Ryan Chappell continuing in the unfamiliar role of fly half, while Will Shields and Brian Browne started on the wings as Tom Gosling was played at outside centre.

Early exchanges were fairly even before Newark won a couple of Spalding’s lineouts with their tall first jumper securing the ball after Spalding had gained some good territory.

But Newark gave away some early penalties until the 11th minute when Usher showed what he was about, sprinting down the left wing to score the opening try. A few minutes later, Newark executed a perfectly worked try when they won a lineout on the right hand side and the ball was quickly passed through the three-quarters hands to give Usher room to run in again.

A good contest was developing in the forwards with Spalding’s two locks Deurden and Piccaver in particular gaining territory with some forceful drives down the middle.

This set up some promising breakdown positions near the Newark try line, but the home side managed to scramble the ball away for a Spalding lineout.

A well-planned catch and drive saw the Spalding forwards destroy the home defence and Harry Brown went over the try line to score.

However. with Newark realising that Usher had the beating of Spalding’s defence out wide, they created space for him to do just that. Usher’s next try came after a poor clearance kick by Spalding which he gathered before running a full 40 metres to dive in at the corner, adding a further try soon afterwards.

From the restart kick by Josh Broome, Piccaver was able to gather in down the left hand side and with a hand off and strong running, Spalding scored their second try which was well-converted by Broome.

But with a 24-point cushion at half time, Newark already had the game wrapped up and within ten minutes of the restart, another try came from Usher even though they were down to 14 players after one of their forwards was yellow carded for a high tackle.

Injuries then started to stack up for Spalding as, firstly, Scotney had to be replaced by Brian Browne in the scrum, with Chris Eggleton coming off the bench.

Later, Tom Duerden and Sion Williams sustained shoulder and ankle injuries respectively, with replacements Jake Read and George Douglas replacing them.

Newark took advantage with a succession of tries and despite Spalding’s efforts, the home team ran out worthy winners led by Ben Usher with six tries.

Spalding: Waudby, Cooke, Caley, Deurden, Piccaver, Scotney, Richardson, H Brown, Cooke, Chappell, Shields, S Williams, Gosling, Browne, Broome, Read, Douglas, Eggleton.