RUGBY: Another big stride to safety for Town

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Spalding 1st 20 Towcestrians 1st 13: Stand-in fly-half Jim Williams scored all 20 points as Spalding RFC took another big step towards preserving Midlands One League status.

A large crowd at the Memorial Field on Saturday savoured Town’s fourth consecutive win knowing that survival is now highly likely and deserved.

Town skipper Harry Sharman said: “Jim was in great form but it was an outstanding team effort.

“After being behind at half-time, we pulled together and played out of our skins.”

Williams was fly-half in place of the absent Dave Hankinson – one of four enforced personnel changes which resulted in numerous positional changes and threatened to scupper Town in a vital match.

Concerns were realised after only five minutes when Williams failed to convert a penalty opportunity and then the ever-dependable Sharman missed a tackle, allowing the visitors to take an early 5-0 lead. There were also ominous signs in the scrum as Town were driven backwards by a powerful and technically good Towcestrians forward pack.

However, in a gritty and determined manner, Town were soon back on the offensive. Sharman made a surging run and a delicate offload sent Williams under the posts. He duly converted to give Town a 7-5 lead.

An error-strewn 15 minutes then enabled Towcestrians to go 10-7 ahead – a lead extended to six points early in the second half.

But then a resurgent Town grabbed hold of the game. On 60 minutes great interplay between Tom Duerden and Sharman set up the omnipresent Williams for a try he converted for 14-13.

The Spalding pack then enjoyed periods of sustained pressure from impressive rolling mauls and determined scrums. Ant Buckberry and Peter Shakespeare dug deep and duly impressed.

Kev Childs and Dan Adams on the two wings were also a constant threat.

Williams slotted over two penalties to secure the win.

Town: Sharman, Buckberry, Dowse, Shakespeare, McNally, T Duerden, H Brown, Craig, E Duerden, Williams, Childs, McHugh, Williamson, Adams, Lucas, Gibbons, Anker, G Brown.

Next fixture – Saturday, March 24: Peterborough v Town