RUGBY: Ben’s timely try moves Town out of drop zone

BLIZZARD BATTLE: Spalding RFC and Peterborough RFC battle it out. Photo by ADRIAN SMITH
BLIZZARD BATTLE: Spalding RFC and Peterborough RFC battle it out. Photo by ADRIAN SMITH
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SPALDING RFC 11 PETERBOROUGH RFC 10: A late Ben Williamson try could prove the defining moment of Spalding’s season as they jumped out of the Midlands One East relegation zone with a derby win.

The full back pounced on a Peterborough error to collect a chip forward from Dave Hankinson and crash over the line ten minutes from time, settling a tight tussle in the process.

Town skipper Harry Sharman was one of two players to be sent off in the closing stages, but it failed to ruin a momentous day for the club.

Sharman said: “The conditions were ridiculous, I can honestly say I’ve never been so cold. We were that cold that the lads were pouring boiling hot tea over their toes at half time.

“Obviously my red card was a bit of a dampener to what is a big day for us. I’m not sorry for sticking up for a team-mate, but getting a straight red isn’t great and I’ll face the consequences.

“The lads dug very deep and it was impressive to see them get a winning try against the wind after I went off. It’s a vital win, but I still think we need at least two more wins from our last four games to be safe.

“It’s going to be very tight as a lot of the teams at the bottom are playing each other. Before the game I had targeted a bonus-point win, but that just wasn’t possible in those conditions.”

With the Memorial Field pitch deemed unfit for play, Spalding were forced to switch the game to Thorney RFC on Friday morning.

Heavy snow on Saturday then threatened the clash, but both teams were determined to get the game on. However, it was soon clear that whichever team had the wind in their favour would be the ones to score

Spalding, who started the game one point behind their relegation rivals, were the first team to get points on the board. The referee ruled Peterborough’s backs offside and awarded the ‘hosts’ a penalty in front of the posts. Dave Hankinson had no problem and after eight minutes his side went 3-0 ahead.

Two more penalty kicks at goal were then offered up to Town, but the weather ensured Hankinson’s attempts flew wide of the posts. As the half progressed Spalding tried to keep Peterborough on the defensive and were largely successful, as another three points were added to their tally.

A Town kick took them into the Borough five metre area. They won the line out and fed the ball across the field – and with the visitors again ruled to be offside, another Hankinson penalty made it 6-0 at the break. With the elements now in Peterborough’s favour, Spalding were up against it in the second period.

An early Hankinson penalty went wide, but at the other end the away side got points on the board when Ben Chan made it 6-3 with a penalty.

Peterborough then went ahead when Adam Peel raced over for a try with 55 minutes gone. With Chan converting, Borough looked odds on to complete the victory.

Spalding captain Sharman and Borough’s Levan Stapleton saw red soon after as a mass brawl broke out.

However, Town refused to accept defeat as they defied the elements to grab one of the biggest tries in their recent history. A costly mistake from Frankie Cook allowed Williamson to collect Hankinson’s kick forward – and he touched down to clinch valuable points in the race for survival.

Town: Harry Sharman, Pete Waudby, Craig Dowse, Jimmy Rowlands, Andy Hoyles, Patrick Shire, Callum Thomson, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, Dave Hankinson, Kevin Childs, Ryan Chappell, Rhys Thomson, Harry Harrison, Ben Williamson, Sam Cook, Luke Scotney and Harry Winch.