Spalding RFC 8 Ilkeston RFC 45: THIS was a far cry from the last time this fixture was played – the final day of last season when Town squeaked a win to preserve their status in Midlands 1 East League.
The superiority of Ilkeston was evident from the early stages.
Granted, Spalding did not have their strongest team out for this match, but with all the availability problems it gave them the opportunity to see a number of new younger players of which the pick was certainly winger Harry Harrison who was able to use his speed and tackling skills to show that he will be a great asset in the years to come.
Ilkeston were soon on the attack and a saving tackle by lock Josh McNally – playing his last match for the club before moving away from the area – only delayed the inevitable score after only five minutes.
Soon afterwards it became 12-0 and the afternoon looked ominous for the home side.
Another Ilkeston score followed before Spalding were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and Dave Hankinson had no problem in kicking his team’s first points.
The scoreless remainder of the half was one of the better passages of play for Town, Harrison showing both his tackling ability and speed. On one occasion scrum-half Jim Williams made a decisive break only to be stopped.
Ilkeston piled on the points during the second half to make the score 45-3.
However, the large home crowd at least saw Town have the final score.
Harrison, in full flow, was brought down by a high tackle. A kick to touch from the penalty gave his side the opportunity but, although winning the line-out, at first they were unable to breach the visitors’ defence.
A penalty was awarded to Spalding again and they kicked for touch on the opposite side of the field.
The line-out was won and all the forwards drove for the line with Harry Brown going over to touch down.
Spalding: Williamson (captain), Ioannou, Dowse, Lake, Haighton, McNally, Coates, Scotney, H Brown, J Williams, Hankinson, G Brown, Chappell, S Williams, H Harrison, Hutson, T Duerden, Adams.
• Saturday: Newark v Town.