SPALDING RFC 14 NEWARK RFC 8: Two more tries from teen ace Harry Harrison guided Spalding RFC to a sensational third Midlands One East victory in a row on Saturday.
The 17-year-old young gun scored in each half at the Memorial Field, helping Town jump out of the bottom three of the standings for the first time this season.
With as many as three teams likely to go down this year, this latest success could prove pivotal come the end of the campaign.
Town had to work for their win, as visitors Newark soon put them under pressure in the early stages. But confident kicking from fly-half Dave Hankinson soon took them out of the danger zone.
Spalding soon played their way into the game and were awarded a penalty on the Newark ten metre line. Hankinson kicked for touch – which he found 15 metres out from the visitors’ try line.
Town then won the lineout and drove for the line, before passing out to Ryan Chappell, who opened the defence before passing to Harrison to cut through and score the first try.
Hankinson converted – and after 17 minutes Spalding were 7 – 0 ahead. That’s how it stayed up until the half-time break, despite numerous penalties for both teams.
Newark came flying out of the traps in the second period, though. They opened their account with a routine kick from in front of the posts, before registering a maiden try.
Their three-quarters won the ball and kicked ahead for a winger to go around the Spalding defence and touchdown in the corner. Although the conversion failed, the visitors took an 8-7 advantage.
The lead didn’t last long though, with Town notching their second try within two minutes of falling behind.
From the restart Harry Brown made a break in the middle of the pitch before passing out to Tom Duerden. He found found skipper Harry Sharman on the left wing and, although stopped five metres short of the line, the ball came back on the Spalding side via Chappell and Harrison, who then made his second touchdown of the afternoon. Hankinson converted.
Spalding almost added another score when Andy Hoyles clearly took the ball over the line – but the referee judged that there had been two movements and ruled it out.
It mattered little, as Town sealed another impressive win.
If they can win at Market Rasen and Louth on Saturday in their final game of the year, they’ll have plenty to cheer over the holidays.
Town: Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby, Jimmy Rowlands, Pete Shakespeare, Tom Duerden, Andy Hoyles, Ben Williams, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, Dave Hankinson, Dan Adams, Ryan Chappell, Harry Harrison, Ben Williamson, Adam McHugh, Sam Cooke, Ash Anker and Harry Winch.
SKIPPER HARRY SHARMAN
“The first half was as good a rugby as we’ve played this season.
“Our discipline was superb and we put plenty of concerted pressure on them without really scoring the points we deserved.
“That was a worry at half time as I felt we should’ve been more than seven points clear – so when they went ahead inside ten minutes I feared the worst.
“But the lads really showed their character to go up the other end and get back ahead. We were hanging on a bit at the end, but once again the defending was great and we saw it through.
“Saturday at Market Rasen and Louth is now a massive game. It’s always a bit of a grudge match when we play them, but this one is much bigger given where we are in the table.”