RUGBY UNION: Celebration time for the champions

HOLLAND TOUR: The under-15s beat Amstelveen 103-0 and then took part in the Hilversum International Festival against Widnes (12-3), Oswestry (14-0), Newbury (7-14) and Hilversum (43-0).
HOLLAND TOUR: The under-15s beat Amstelveen 103-0 and then took part in the Hilversum International Festival against Widnes (12-3), Oswestry (14-0), Newbury (7-14) and Hilversum (43-0).

Spalding under-15s made it third time lucky by winning the Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire Cup.

For the past six years, this group of players have made their journey to the final of their respective age groups.

For the third successive year, Spalding prepared to meet Nottingham, having lost the previous two finals.

With the game less than 12 minutes old, the Nottingham stand-off chipped a ball over the Spalding defence, only for full-back Adam Johnson and winger Ryan Burton to collide into each other – allowing the free ball to be collected by Nottingham for a touch down.

Johnson had to leave the field, taking no further part in the game.

Spalding showed their mental strength by coming back into the game through quick hands in the backs and a superb running line from Will Wand who raced over to score under the posts, with Charlie Beecham slotting the conversion.

Spalding’s forwards won the rucks, taking on a physical Nottingham pack, and the backs made ground by taking excellent decisions from all parts of the field of play with assured passing, tactical kicking and offensive tackling.

This pressure finally told on Nottingham as the ball went through the hands to Ollie Whiley to score in the 
corner on the right wing.

Moments later the ball went wide to the left wing and, with half a pitch to go, Ryan Burton outpaced the chasing Nottingham players to touch down, only to be pulled back to half way for a dubious forward pass decision.

Spalding opened the second half under pressure from a Nottingham side eager to pull back the two-score advantage.

But they rode out the first 10 minutes of pressure to take the game back to Nottingham, with Wand racing in for his second score of the evening.

Moments later, Ethan Martin received the ball on the right wing and ran 50 metres, outpacing his markers to score Spalding’s fourth try.

With renewed confidence Spalding continued to press the Nottingham defence.

Skipper Jack Wright bulldozed his way through the 22 with desperate tacklers in his wake.

Despite the scoreline reading 27-5 for Spalding, Nottingham never gave up.

Spalding’s refusal to allow another score showed their mental strength, physicality and team ethic.

At the final whistle the entire squad – including vice-captain Jack Patrick, Will Neal and Max Pretorius who all missed out with injuries – ran to embrace each other and celebrate.