Spalding 66, Nottingham Casuals 17
Spalding recorded their eighth league win of the season to remain undefeated as well as picking up a bonus point to maintain their seven point lead at the top of the table.
It did not take long to notch up their first score but the opposition kept at their task and were rewarded as the match went into the final quarter as the home side relaxed too much.
Spalding kicked off and from the start they were soon crossing the line for their first try. A scrum to Spalding resulted in a quick heel and the ball along the line to winger Harry Harrison who outpaced the visitors defence to score and leave a simple conversion for James West to add the points so that with only two minutes of the match having passed Spalding were on their way.
Shortly after Spalding won another scrum and a break from the back row saw skipper Harry Sharman break left and link with centre Dan Cooper before passing to winger Andy Lal, who used his considerable pace to out flank the opposition’s defence and score.
West converted and within six minutes the home side had scored 14 points.In the next ten minutes Spalding came under pressure from the visitors but after stout defence they broke clear and new second row player Ashley Piccaver ran 80 metres to the opposite end of the field without anyone in the visitors putting a hand on him, allowing him to score under the posts.
West converted and the score was now 21-0. Next Spalding were awarded a penalty.A quick tap and they were away on the right of the pitch.The ball went along the three-quarter to center Cooper who outpaced his marker to touchdown close to the touch line.The conversion missed its mark but 18 minutes of the match having passed and the score was 26-0 and Spalding had chalked up a bonus point by scoring four tries.
The next score was initiated from a penalty to touch some 40 metres out.Spalding won the lineout and the forwards broke through the visitors’ defence leaving Sharman to touch down for their next score.West converted the try and after 25 minutes the score had moved on to 33-0.
Towards the end of the first half Spalding’s next opportunity came from a clear break on the right.The hard work was made by Harrison but very unselfishly, as when he crossed the try line he passed to supporting player George Brown to touch down under the post.West again converted and the score was 40-0 as half time loomed.
But the last say went to the visitors.They pressurised the Spalding line to score wide out near the touch but their conversion attempt failed and as the half time whistle sounded the score was 40-5.
The second half commenced in a similar fashion to the first one. Nottingham Casuals kicked off but Spalding gathered the ball and West kicked for touch. The Spalding forwards won the ball and the ball was passed along the three-quarter line and with inclusion of full back Ed Booth who went over to touch down.West added the conversion.
The next try came immediately from the restart by the visitors. Sharman broke to his right and crashed through the opponents’ defence to score wide out, leaving a more difficult conversion which missed its target.
But within three minutes of the restart Spalding had stretched their lead to 52-5.They were awarded a penalty and West kicked for position some 15 metres out from the visitors’ try line. Sharman gathered the ball in the air at the back of the lineout and the forwards drove for the line with Ed Duerden crossing to record the next score. Again West converted. The match was now moving into its final quarter.Practically the same move as previously was repeated from a similar part of the pitch. The forwards drove over the line and Ben Williams scored the try much to the delight of the large crowd of Spalding supporters, who were pleased to see Williams turning out for the 1st team for the first time for over a year. With ten minutes left again West converted and the score was 66-5.
With the last few minutes of the match the Spalding team succumbed to two sucker punches when they allowed the gallant Nottingham Casual team to cross the line twice converting one of their tries to take the final score to 66-17 at the final whistle.
Spalding: Harry Sharman (captain), Alex Ioannou, Ben Williams, Pete Waudby, Tim Waltham, Ashley Piccaver, Josh Finch, Ed Duerden, Rob Lucas, James West, Andy Lal, George Brown, Dan Cooper, Harry Harrison, Ed Booth, Josh Caley, Jason Steels, Matty Newman.