Bakewell Mannerians 17 Spalding RFC 29: Spalding began life back in Midlands Two East (North) with an impressive away success in Derbyshire on Saturday.
A James West drop goal plus tries from Harry Brown, Josh Finch, Ben Williamson and a penalty try gave Town the perfect start to the season – at one of the toughest venues they’ll visit all year.
It only took five minutes for Spalding to open the scoring. Ed Duerden broke clear in the Bakewell half and was only stopped five metres short of the line.
The ball was made available and went quickly down the line to Harry Brown who went over for the first try of the league campaign.
With the conversion missed Town moved 5-0 ahead, an advantage which they held until half-time.
They did have chances to add to their lead, most notably when West received the ball from a lineout on the halfway line and chipped forward.
He gathered the ball before punting it towards winger Matty Newman, but the bounce took the ball into touch and out of the grasp of the Spalding ace.
However, Town enjoyed a purple patch in the early stages of the second period as they hammered home their advantage.
Skipper Harry Sharman, switched back to his preferred position of open side flanker at the interval, broke clear and passed to Brown.
He fed Adam McHugh, before the ball found its way to debutant Finch, who scored in the corner. West converted with a long kick from the left.
Spalding then made it 15-0 when McHugh broke through the defence before passing out to Williamson, whose pass to West enabled him to drop a goal.
From the re-start Town were awarded a penalty and they kicked for touch some 20 metres from their opponents’ try line.
The forwards caught the ball and drove for the line, but Bakewell disrupted the move – and as a consequence Spalding were awarded a penalty try, which Newman converted.
Bakewell then enjoyed their best spell, with a penalty and a converted try pegging Spalding back to 22-10.
Within five minutes Spalding hit back, as McHugh broke through the defence before passing to Williamson, who at the last moment cut diagonally inside the home side’s defence to score under the posts – leaving again a simple conversion for Newman.
The hosts had the last word with a second converted score, but Spalding had already secured their first win of the new capaign, plus one bonus point.
They’ll be hoping for more of the same at home to Belgrave this Saturday.
Town: Harry Sharman (captain), Sam Cooke, Jacob Harwood, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Tim Waltham, Ed Duerden, Josh Finch, Harry Brown, James West, Matty Newman, Ryan Chappell, Ben Williamson, George Brown, Sean Bishop, Josh Caley, Adam McHugh and John Charlton.
• Results (selected): Midlands Two East (North): Ashbourne 25 Stamford 15; Belgrave 38 Oakham 24; Dronfield 26 Nottingham Casuals 5; Kesteven 57 Melton Mowbray 0; Loughborough 17 Melbourne 12. Midlands Three East (South): Deepings 15 St Ives 18. Midlands Four East (South): Bourne 7 Stamford College Old Boys 31.