SPALDING RFC 27 DUNSTABLIANS RFC 25: SPALDING’S final home clash of the season was typically a nail-biter.
Skipper Harry Sharman ran in a late try to help deliver a seventh Memorial Field victory of the campaign for Town’s loyal fans .
On a bright warm afternoon, Spalding started well against the Midlands One East basement boys.
Eventually scrum half Rob Lucas went over for a try next to the posts after winning the ball from a line-out, leaving Dave Hankinson with a simple conversion.
The lead was extended when Spalding kicked a penalty to within five metres of the Dunstablians line. Mark Haighton won the line-out and the forwards drove for the line, with Ed Duerden grounding the ball. A more difficult conversion went wide.
It got better for Town too. Haighton again won a line-out and Sharman broke loose before Hankinson stepped inside the defence to score to the right of the posts. His kick wasn’t on target, but it was 17-0 after 25 minutes.
Dunstablians hadn’t read the script, though, as a penalty and an unconverted try reduced the arrears to 17-8 at the break.
The comeback continued in the second period, as a side that has only won twice all season showed what they can do. A converted try made it 17-5, before another maximum score put them ahead with 15 minutes to play.
As ever at the Memorial Field, there was a sting in the tale. Sharman, who was later sent off, went over to restore Spalding’s lead – with Hankinson converting. The kicker wasn’t finished either, sending over another penalty to help secure the points.
Town: Harry Sharman, Joel Riddle, Craig Dowse, Peter Waudby, Mark Haighton, Tom Duerden, Ed Duerden, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, Dave Hankinson, Ollie Phillips, Sion Williams, Adam McHugh, Ryan Chappell, Ben Williamson, Peter Shakespeare, Phil Taylor, JD Charlton.
• Sat – Ilkeston v Town (3pm).
SPALDING RFC 48
SCUNTHORPE RFC 31
TOWN were crowned county champions for the first time in eight years after a stunning win over higher-graded opposition.
Having performed admirably in their first Midlands One East season, winning some silverware puts the seal on a super season for Harry Sharman and his side.
Last Wednesday’s Lincolnshire Cup final at Market Rasen proved to be a wonderful exhibition of open rugby.
Spalding were first to score when Sharman went over the line, with Dave Hankinson adding the conversion.
Scunthorpe replied with a converted score of their own, but Sharman adding his second score of the evening to restore the Town advantage. Hankinson again converted.
A kicked penalty pegged Spalding back again, but they were breaking superbly from defence. In their next attack Sion Williams broke clear to feed winger Ollie Phillips, who used his speed to score in the corner and kicker Hankinson obliged with another clean conversion.
In keeping with the game, Scunthorpe responded again before the break as another converted score made it 21-17 to Town.
That changed after the interval though, as Spalding went on a scoring spree.
First Jimmy Rowlands went over, followed by Tom Duerden – who used his strength and reach to cross the line close to the posts.
Hankinson made the conversion and suddenly in the space of seven minutes Spalding had taken the score to 33-17.
Next to score was Phillips, who outpaced his opposite number in the corner, but the kick was too difficult for Hankinson.
However, he soon obliged with a penalty in front of the posts and a try of his own – which he duly converted – to take the game away from their opponents.
Scunthorpe scored two converted tries in the closing stages, but it failed to take the gloss off a memorable night for Town.