Dunstablians RFC 0 Spalding RFC 3: TOWN took a huge step towards Midlands One East survival by edging out the basement boys in a real mud-bath on Saturday.
Ollie Phillips’ second-half penalty was the difference between the sides, in what Spalding skipper Harry Sharman called “impossible” conditions after heavy rainfall.
Not that he’s too bothered now, with Town looking odds-on to beat the drop in their first season at this level.
Sharman said: “It was impossible to play good, entertaining rugby in those conditions. After ten minutes you couldn’t tell the teams apart.
“The three teams below us lost, so it was a big win. I’d say we’re looking safe now but you never know how many teams will go down.
“We’re treating it as if three will be relegated.”
Spalding kicked off and were immediately under the cosh. But they soon broke clear and a typical breakout by centre Adam McHugh brought play close to the Dunstablians line.
Ben Williamson then came the closest to scoring. An opening created by stand-off Ben Hoyles allowed skipper Sharman the space to clear the defence, before passing to Williamson.
With a clear run ahead of him he could have been over for a try, but the speed of the home wing outpaced him and he was stopped only five metres short.
From then on, scrum after scrum were awarded to both sides, as the ground conditions made handling and running nearly impossible.
Kicking was also tough, with Phillips sending two penalties wide of the posts before the break.
The key moment of the game came ten minutes into the second period. A clearance kick from Sharman took play deep into the Dunstablians half. Williamson collected the ball and made touch just five metres in from the home-side’s line.
From the lineout, which was cleanly taken by Mark Haighton, the home three-quarters were adjudged to be offside, leaving a simple conversion in front of the posts.
Phillips made no mistake to give Town a crucial lead.
As the clock continued to run down Dunstablians piled on the pressure. However, they spurned a great chance to level when they refused the opportunity to kick for goal from a late penalty.
This may not be the most eye-catching win of the season, but it could just prove to be a pivotal moment in their development as a club.
Spalding RFC: Harry Sharman, Peter Shakespeare, Craig Dowse, Joel Riddle, Mark Haighton, Ed Duerden, Tom Duerden, Phillip Taylor, Rob Lucas, Ben Hoyles, Ben Williamson, Sion Williams, Adam McHugh, George Brown, Ollie Phillips, Andy Branton, Jimmy Rowlands, Tim Smith.
• Sat - Wellingborough v Spalding (3pm).