RUGBY UNION: Spalding must drop down for return to winning ways

Spalding Rugby Club
Spalding Rugby Club
  • Midlands Two East (North) - Southwell 66 Spalding 10

Spalding suffered another heavy defeat as second-placed Southwell scored seven tries in the first half.

With the home side chasing a play-off place at the end of the season, Spalding knew that they were in for a hard time – especially as they lost 31-7 at home in November.

After an absence of three weeks, captain Harry Brown was back in the side at lock with Jacob Greaves making his first start in the front row while Ben Shields started on the right wing with Gav Sharman unavailable.

With their player-manager at the base of the scrum taking control of affairs, linking well with his scrum-half, Southwell quickly exploited the passing ability in the backs – creating overlaps out wide and after the first 11 minutes they were three tries to the good.

After 10 further minutes, some poor defensive tackling by Spalding led to a further try.

However in spells Spalding were looking good, especially with ball in hand with Tom Duerden leading by example until a shoulder injury brought an early departure.

Spalding’s scrum was going well and from a good field position Ash Piccaver picked up at number eight and used his strength to opening the scoring with a good try.

Southwell’s pace around the park was causing problems as they searched for further tries and three more were scored by half-time.

It was time for Spalding to regroup with the players encouraging each other to ensure they were not going to go down without a fight.

After the restart Spalding were in control for spells– led by their forwards and the centre pairing of Jason Steels and George Brown.

Steels carried the ball deep in Southwell’s half and gained a scrum to Spalding. A good pick-up and pass from the scrum saw George Douglas from full-back taking the ball at pace to score Spalding’s second try.

Spalding were battling away with Richard Cooke at scrum-half leading by example and fly-half Will Shields unafraid to tackle the home team back row as they tried to make headway around the fringes.

Southwell only scored a solitary try in the last 30 minutes, showing the spirit and commitment that has developed. The signs are positive that next season in a lower league confidence can be rebuilt to get back to winning ways.

Spalding: Greaves, Caley, Barrett, H Brown, Hudson, Bailey, Piccaver, Duerden, Cooke, W Shields, Browne, Steels, G Brown, B Shields, Douglas. Subs Cole, Figueirido.