KESTEVEN RFC 10 SPALDING RFC 19: Spalding completed a hat-trick of wins over county rivals Kesteven on Saturday to stay bang in the Midlands Two East (North) title race.
James West kicked 15 points and Richie Craig added a timely try to clinch Town’s 12 league victories from 14 games – but they are now one point behind leaders Belgrave after they bagged a bonus-point triumph over Bakewell.
The first period saw Spalding playing down the slope, but against a strong wind. Still, they found themselves 3-0 ahead inside two minutes when West buried a 25-yard penalty.
That advantage was wiped out on the quarter hour when the hosts were awarded a penalty on the half-way line. The kick caught the wind and sailed through the posts.
Spalding came back from the restart with a well-placed drop out. They were awarded a penalty in a more difficult position, but this West fired wide of the posts.
From the 22-metre drop out by Kesteven, Town claimed possession and Harry Sharman led his forwards towards the line, before being stopped five metres out.
More away pressure followed, before Spalding were finally awarded a penalty. That resulted in a successful drive to the line and Craig, playing in the back row, was successful in scoring. West converted to take his side into a 10-3 lead after 30 minutes of play.
The lead didn’t last long, with a Kesteven full-back rampaging through from the half-way line to notch a converted try in the move of the match.
Spalding held their nerve in the second half and had countless opportunities to add to their score.
Their best chance to add another try saw Tom Duerden stopped just short of the line, while another great chance saw an untimely knock-on ruin a fine move.
But West’s boot was much more reliable – and he kicked three penalties to seal a 19-10 success for title-chasing Town, who welcome Loughborough to the Memorial Field this Saturday (2.15pm).
Spalding RFC: Harry Sharman (captain), Alex Ioannou, Jacob Harwood, Pete Waudby, Andy Hoyles, Tim Waltham, Josh Finch, Richie Craig, Ben Williams, James West, George Brown, Ryan Chappell, Harry Harrison, Andrew Lal, Adam McHugh, Ian Knight, Tom Duerden and Rob Lucas.