RUGBY: Rock-bottom Town suffer fifth defeat

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SPALDING RFC 1st 13 MATLOCK RFC 1st 33: POINTLESS Town remain bottom of Midlands One East after suffering a fifth successive defeat on Saturday.

Although it’s still relatively early days for a side that are still without injured skipper Harry Sharman, the bottom three are starting to become detached from the rest – meaning a maiden success needs to arrive sooner rather than later.

Spalding kicked off with the wind at their backs and some probing kicks from fly half Jim Williams kept the visitors pinned down in their own half. Strong running from Spalding winger George Brown also made life difficult for the Derbyshire side.

The pressure on the visitors resulted in a penalty and Dave Hankinson, who had moved to outside centre for this match, had no problem in opening the score for the home side.

From the restart Matlock began to play in the Spalding half. Poor tackling and offences abounded and it wasn’t long before the visitors were awarded a penalty from which they opened their account.

Spalding restarted and enjoyed sustained pressure in their opponents’ half, before Williams sent over a drop goal. However, it wasn’t long before Matlock were back on level terms with a penalty after poor discipline by the home side at a ruck.

It got worse before half time, as the visitors ran in two tries which were gifted to them through poor tackling. The resultant conversions gave Matlock a 18-6 lead at the interval.

Spalding began the second half strongly and got themselves back into the game. The forwards and backs combining well to give centre Ryan Chappell the opportunity to touch down and Williams converted, bringing the score to 18-13.

There was now optimism in the side that this could be their first win of the season. But it was not to be and, as the match progressed, Matlock’s superior fitness began to be the telling factor.

A yellow card to Spalding’s veteran player Mark Haighton didn’t help the cause, allowing the visitors the opportunity to score two more converted tries and a penalty to make a final score of 33-13.

Spalding RFC: Ben Williamson (captain), Peter Waudby, Ollie Lake, Sam Cooke, Mark Haighton, Tom Duerden, Jim Williams, Ed Duerden, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, Jim Williams, George Brown, Ryan Chappell, Dave Hankinson, Harry Harrison, Alex Ioannou, Adam McHugh and Harry Winch.

Saturday: Old Northamptonians v Spalding RFC (3pm).