SPALDING RFC 24 COALVILLE RFC 24: HONOURS were even as Town and Coalville did their hopes of survival in Midlands One East no harm at all.
Spalding, who trailed 10-0 and 24-14 during the titanic tussle, were left to rue a missed penalty and drop goal attempt in the closing stages.
Although Town had been hoping to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season, a draw was a fair reflection on proceedings.
With the wind at their backs in the first half, it wasn’t long before Coalville took lead. The visitors won the ball and moved it cleanly down their three-quarter line for the winger to score near the corner for an unconverted try.
The usually reliable Dave Hankinson missed a penalty soon after, before Coalville touched down another score following a series of set scrums.
Again it was unconverted, but the away side were a commanding 10-0 ahead.
Back came Spalding though, with Jim Williams’ kick forward leading to a move that saw Ed Duerden go over close to the posts, allowing Hankinson to knock over the conversion.
Four minutes later Town went ahead for the first time. A series of penalties allowed them to make good ground, culminating in a super side-step from Hankinson, who touched down under the posts – leaving himself an easy kick.
Back came Coalville though, with their prop able to crash over the line after winning the ball from a lineout.
This time the conversion was good, putting the away side 17-14 up.
It got worse for Spalding before the break too, as a penalty kicked deep into touch allowed the visitors’ three quarters to run in another try, which was again converted to make it 24-14.
With it all to do in the second period, the hosts made early inroads into their deficit. Spalding were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch, allowing Duerden and Josh McNally to inspire a move that saw full back Rob Lucas to cross the Coalville try line and touch down near the posts.
Hankinson converted – and suddenly Spalding were within another score of equalising. That happened soon enough, with Hankinson coolly sending a 22-yard penalty between the posts.
In the final ten minutes Town could have won it, but Hankinson sent a long-range penalty wide and Williams saw his drop goal attempt miss the posts in the dying seconds.
With Leighton Buzzard drawing too, it’s as you were at the foot with Spalding three points clear of the bottom two.
Spalding RFC: Harry Sharman (captain), Peter Shakespeare, Craig Dowse, Fraser Welsh, Tom Duerden, Josh McNally, Richie Craig, Ed Duerden, Jim Williams, Dave Hankinson, Kevin Childs, Ryan Chappell, Ben Williamson, Dan Adams, Rob Lucas, Ant Buckberry, Harry Brown, Alex Heaton.
• Saturday: Town v Kettering (3pm).