RUGBY: Baptism of fire for Spalding youngsters

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Newark RFC 45 Spalding RFC 10: A young Spalding side is having to learn the hard way against some tough opposition in a tough league.

Last season Newark were undefeated, gaining promotion as champions to Midlands One and had a good opening win the previous week away at Kettering.

With early season injuries to a number of players such as Harry Sharman, the Duerden brothers and Jim Williams it was an opportunity for some of the younger squad members to start for the first time this season, such as Callam Ross and Cameron Lithgow and also a welcome return to the bench for Ben Williams.

Newark were lively right from the kick off, putting Spalding under immediate pressure.

And after only eight minutes the home side was ahead with a penalty.

With the home scrum steady as a rock, clean possession was flowing to the excellent Newark fly half and midway through the first half they twice broke through the Spalding three quarter defence for converted tries.

With the new rules on the use of the bench, Luke Scotney came on for Ross and Spalding then put Newark under some pressure.

Hands in a ruck gave Town’s Dave Hankinson a simple kick right in front of the posts.

However, in the dying seconds of the first half Newark’s left wing broke free to score in the corner and with the conversion sailing through the posts the lead was 24-3 at half time.

Spalding came out in the second half determined to get back into the match and pressed Newark back into their half.

Scrum half Rob Lucas fed a quick ball out to Hankinson from a Spalding ruck, Ryan Chappell slipped the ball onto Lithgow at outside centre who held his running line and with excellent speed sliced through the Newark defence for his first league try.

The successful conversion took Spalding score into double figures.

As hard as Spalding competed, Newark had the edge, not only in the forwards but also in their use of their possession.

This resulted in a further three converted tries.

Town: Williamson (captain), Ioannou, Lake, Shakespeare, Coates, Anker, Ross, Scotney, H Brown, Lucas, Hankinson, Childs, Chappell, Lithgow, Harrison, Dowse, Williams, Winch.

Saturday: Town v Market Rasen (3pm)