RUGBY UNION: Early hope turns into reality for Spalding

Fly-half James West kicks an early penalty to put Spalding ahead
Fly-half James West kicks an early penalty to put Spalding ahead
  • Midlands Two East (North) - Spalding 13 Market Bosworth 32

Before Saturday’s kick-off at the Memorial Ground, Spalding knew that a home win was essential to start a revival in their fight against relegation with Market Bosworth lying only two places above them in the league.

With the only changes being Taylor Crowson’s return on the wing after an ankle problem, George Douglas reverting to full-back and Luke Turner in at prop, there was an expectation that a good result was in the offering.

Mikey Watts and Marc Miles were back on the bench alongside Kieran Lake to offer strength in depth.

The optimism translated itself into an early lead with Bosworth infringing at a ruck and fly-half James West stepping up to convert the penalty.

But the lead only lasted three minutes.

Bosworth’s forwards drove deep into Spalding’s half but the initial tackling was good and the momentum was stopped. However, a gap was spotted with limited guard defence and Bosworth’s flanker was in under the posts for a converted try.

Spalding v Market Bosworth

Spalding v Market Bosworth

For the next 25 minutes the crowd were entertained with both defences on top and both sides having their fair share of play.

Spalding’s scrum was going well. Bosworth were fielding a couple of tall lineout jumpers but both Mark Haighton and Ash Piccaver were securing good ball for the home team.

Josh Caley took a knock to the head in a tackle and was replaced by Watts.

On the half-hour Spalding were presented with a long distance penalty and with an excellent kick from West there was just one point separating the sides.

Piccaver then showed his pace with a break from well inside his half and was tackled just five metres from the line.

Richard Cooke was rolling back the years, covering every blade of grass with his tackling and breaks around the ruck.

But just before half-time Bosworth had a successful penalty kick followed up by a catch and driving maul from a lineout on Spalding’s five-metre line and with the try being converted all of a sudden at half-time Bosworth’s lead had been extended to 17-6.

The second half started as if there been no break with the forwards cancelling each other’s work out.

Steadily Bosworth’s fly-half, with his running and kicking game, started to control affairs and two tries were conceded within a 10-minute spell.

Both George Brown and Crowson took knocks while tackling with Lake and Miles coming off the bench but Spalding were being starved of possession.

With a deep kick to touch from a penalty, West gained valuable territory.

The lineout ball was secured and from the ensuing play, Watts drove over the line for a converted try – reducing Bosworth’s lead to nine points with 20 minutes to play.

However, Spalding were struggling to release their backs into space, limiting their attacking options and again both wingers Gav Sharman and Crowson were being starved of the ball.

Bosworth held onto the lead to run out deserved winners having scored four tries to one.

With this result and only eight league games left, a miracle would be required to avoid relegation.

Spalding: Turner, Caley, Hutson, Duerden, Haighton, Piccaver, Cooke, H Brown, Shields, West, Crowson, Winch, G Brown, G Sharman, Douglas. Subs Watts, Miles, Lake.