RUGBY UNION: Pre-season win for Spalding

Spalding were relegated last season
Spalding were relegated last season
  • Stamford 22 Spalding 25

With the start of the season just around the corner, Spalding travelled to Stamford on Saturday for their first warm-up game with a squad of 23 players.

Summer training had been going well under the direction of coach George Reid with Nikita Hudz assisting with fitness and conditioning.

Having suffered relegation last year, while Stamford easily held their own in the league, the match set a good marker down for both teams.

Newly-elected captain Richard Cooke led the starting XV onto the field supported by his two new vice-captains Ash Piccaver and Jason Steels.

Spalding kicked off with wind and sloping pitch advantage looking for their pack to gain an upper hand.

Tom Rollinson was making his debut at hooker with George Berry also making his first start at lock.

Both teams took time to settle but Spalding’s pack gained an advantage allowing scrum-half Will Shields to get the ball away to fly-half Willis Ingleby, also making his first start, who showed plenty of confidence with ball in hand or kicking for territory.

Dan Adams was making a welcome return at centre alongside Tom Wilson with two fliers on the wing, Gav Sharman and new signing Ashton Capes.

However it was Stamford who seized control of the game with two tries created from breakdown situations out on the right wing and at half-time the home team had a 12-point advantage.

With Reid wanting to assess his whole squad, a raft of changes were made with some familiar faces.

The Spalding pack turned the screws with their pick and drives and domination of the scrums and Harry Sharman bagged two quick tries with Cooke also squeezing over to take the lead by three points.

Stamford broke through the middle to snatch the advantage back but Spalding responded with a good backs move putting Ben Shields in space on the right to go in at the corner.

Dan Adams, on a crash ball move, gained good territory and Ash Anker was on hand to force his way over for Spalding’s fifth try.

On the final whistle Stamford responded with the final try of the afternoon but Spalding ran out worthy winners and a very encouraging performance for Cooke to build upon.