SPALDING RFC 41 MELBOURNE RFC 10: Relentless Spalding RFC shrugged off the terrible conditions to make it a perfect six wins on the bounce in Midlands Two East (North) on Saturday.
Although they weren’t quite at their best amid gusty wind and heavy rain at the Memorial Field, another bonus-point success sent Town eight points clear at the top.
Fly-half James West ran in two tries as he scored 21 of the Spalding points, with George Brown, Harry Brown, Jay Harwood and the returning Harry Harrison also crossing the line.
Visitors Melbourne were playing their first-ever match at Spalding, but they never really looked like causing an upset against the title favourites.
It was a workman-like showing from the hosts though, with their best rugby saved for the second half.
Town’s first try came just four minutes in, as George Brown broke from the scrum ten metres out to go over, allowing West to convert.
Spalding were soon back on the attack and they kicked a penalty into touch 20 metres out. A scrum followed and Melbourne were penalised, allowing West to add another three points with his boot.
The rain was now coming down heavily and there was no further score in the first half.
Spalding were on fire after the interval, though. Harry Brown peeled off the back of a rampaging drive down the left and, with further support, went over the line for a try.
But West failed to convert into a nasty headwind.
Although the influential Tom Duerden was forced off with an injury, Town continued to dominate. After the hosts won a lineout it was West who cut through the defence to score out wide to the left – and the conversion of his own score was successful.
Within the next five minutes Spalding had scored again. Skipper Harry Sharman broke left and passed to winger Harrison, who was making his first appearance since the beginning of the season.
Despite his absence, young talent Harrison looked very sharp and he outpaced the cover defence before cutting inside to touch down under the posts, leaving an easy conversion for West.
Melbourne refused to give up and went on the attack, but they lost the ball when well placed – allowing the Town three-quarters to race the length of the field, with West scoring under the posts.
Again, he left himself an easy kick for the additional two points.
Despite the setback, plucky Melbourne were still working hard and they were rewarded for their efforts in the last 15 minutes of the match.
From a penalty they kicked for touch, won the lineout and moved the ball along their three quarter line to score in the corner.
The try was unconverted, but shortly after a similar move resulted in them doubling their score to make it 36-10.
Spalding, of course, had the final word as they produced a textbook final try.
Influential captain Sharman had the ball and led the attack, drawing the tackler to him before he passed out for Harwood to score near the touch line.
Next up for Town is a trip to struggling Melton Mowbray this Saturday (2.15pm).
Town: Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby, Jacob Harwood, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Ed Duerden, Richie Craig, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, James West, Andy Lal, George Brown, Dan Cooper, Ben Williamson, Ed Booth, Josh Caley, Gareth Ramsden and Harry Harrison.