Spalding RFC are on the up again

Ben Williams scores the winning try for Spalding.  Photo by Adrian Smith.
Ben Williams scores the winning try for Spalding. Photo by Adrian Smith.

Spalding clinched promotion back into Midland One East after a tense play-off victory at home to Newbold on Avon.

In front of one of the largest crowds seen at the Memorial Field for several years, estimated to be around 400, Spalding held off a determined second-half effort from the Midlands Two South runners-up to to give ougoing head coach Niall Thomson the perfect send-off.

Spalding skipper Harry Sharman heads towards the try line.

Spalding skipper Harry Sharman heads towards the try line.

But it was only a late try two minutes from time that finally ended Newbold’s resistance to spark wild celebrations.

Spalding kicked off with the assistance of the wind and were soon rewarded with a penalty on the 22-metre line.

Teenager James West had no hesitation and opened his side’s score with a clean conversion after only three minutes.

Spalding made good use of the ball and skipper Harry Sharman and hooker Wes Cope broke through the Newbold defence but were stopped before the home side could take advantage.

An undeterred Newbold side hit back and after nine minutes were awarded a penalty which was converted into the strong wind to make it 3-3.

Spalding were constantly looking for opportunities and Cope fed Tom Duerden who was stopped just ten metres short of the line.

But the referee was not happy with the way Duerden had been stopped and West converted his second penalty to make it score 6 -3 after 15 minutes.

Again Spalding attacked with left-winger Harry Harrison making progress before being stopped.

Newbold hit back on 22 minutes and took the play into the home side’s half where they were awarded a penalty.

Into difficult conditions the kicker converted to level the scores at 6 - 6.

Spalding were awarded another penalty and West kicked for position, finding touch some ten metres from the visitors try line.

The opening try followed another Spalding penalty as Cope took a quick tap and broke through a tackle before passing to Sharman who crossed the line wide near the left touch and made some metres before touching down.

West converted to take the score to 16 – 6 after 30 minutes but Newbold hit back and from a lineout close to the line they drove forward and touched down.

The conversion went wide leaving the score 16-11 at half-time.

George Brown was replaced by Ed Booth with Adam McHugh moving from full-back to inside centre.

Spalding broke out of defence with Sharman feeding his winger Harrison who made space before being bundled into touch.

From the line-out Sharman cleared with a diagonal kick across field, just bouncing into touch some 15 metres from the visitors’ try line.

Spalding won the line-out and drove for the line, but their reward was a penalty which West converted to make it 19-11 with 15 minutes of the second half gone.

Spalding made further changes with Ben Williams coming on for Cope, Ian Knight on for Alex Ioannou and Josh Finch on for Tom Duerden.

Spalding were then subjected to a period of some 15 minutes of considerable pressure from the visitors. They resisted everything the visitors could throw at them and eventually broke out with the inevitable Sharman leading the way before linking with Harrison, and Booth to take the ball to the far end of the pitch.

But it was the visitors who were awarded a penalty just inside the Spalding half and on this occasion theyconverted to make it 19 – 14 with less than five minutes left to play.

Spalding made further changes, bringing back Cope to hooker and moving Williams to scrum-half as well as moving Tom Duerden back in to the scrum.

Spalding had a scrum and drove for the line with the ball at the base of the scrum it was Williams who drove over for the final score and with only two minutes left.

Spalding: Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby,Wes Cope, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Andy Hoyles, Ed Duerden, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, James West, Hamish Munro, Ryan Chappell, George Brown, Harry Harrison, Adam McHugh, Ian Knight, Ben Williams, Josh Finch, Ed Booth.