Midlands Two East (North): Spalding 15 Market Bosworth 20
Spalding were stunned as their first league win of the season was snatched away with the last play – leaving them at the bottom of the table.
Saturday’s match had all the ingredients to be a cracker with Spalding fielding a strong squad looking for their first home win of the season and Market Bosworth having had a good start to their league programme, but who had lost points away from home.
Returning to the pack were Harry Sharman and Harry Brown to the back row and Mark Heighton at lock.
With a settled three-quarter line-up who had sparked a late comeback last week against Rushden & Higham but now included regular try scorer Kev Childs, the large home crowd cheered Spalding as they came onto the pitch.
Market Bosworth showed their intent straight from kick-off, being quicker to the breakdown and immediately stringing passes together.
After two minutes Spalding were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle area.
Bosworth took a quick tapped penalty, catching Town napping and they were in under the posts for a converted try.
Spalding’s response to this setback was immediate and they took the game to Bosworth. It was the home team’s turn to take a tapped penalty on the visitors’ 22-metre line but a knock-on saw the first scrum of the day and Bosworth’s superiority was immediate with Town’s front three of John Barrett, Sam Cooke and Sam Cowell buckling under the pressure.
Town were keeping Bosworth pinned back and from a lineout won by Jordan Templer, Sharman broke clear and feed Brown who drove over the line for an unconverted try.
Bosworth responded and Town’s defensive tackling on their five-metre line held before Heighton executed a wonderful clearance kick downfield.
With 25 minutes played, late arrival Jos Broome came off the subs bench – going to fullback with Childs moving to the wing, replacing George Doulgas.
Scrum-half Will Shields was showing his competitive spirit, harassing his opposite number at every scrum and breakdown.
After 30 minutes Bosworth’s number eight was yellow-carded for throwing a punch in his direction.
Shields next showed his passing skills from a breakdown, giving his three-quarters room to run in their own 22 metres before Broome’s clearance kick downfield.
From a lineout Heighton set up a driving maul and Childs took a crash ball into the heart of Bosworth’s defence, resulting in a penalty kick for Broome and a half-time lead of 8-7.
Jimmy Rowlands replaced Cooke in the front row with Tom Duerden coming on for Jordan Templer.
With the second half only minutes old Spalding were penalised for not releasing in the tackle and Bosworth kicked their penalty for them to edge them back in front.
As the second half developed Town took control. Ash Piccaver was prominent with his charging runs, Brown was doing a wonderful job at the base of a retreating scrum and Ben Williamson, now at fly-half, was moving the ball along the line – allowing Harry Harrison and Childs on the wings to get into the game.
It was the forwards, with only five in a lineout, who set up a driving maul from 10 metres out and as the drive was stalling Shields joined, secured the ball and dived over the line for a converted try and a 15-10 lead.
With about 15 minutes remaining Bosworth came storming back and Town went offside at a ruck. A successful penalty kick reduced the lead to just two points.
Spalding were now fighting a rearguard action and with minutes remaining Bosworth had a lineout on the five metres line.
However the throw was not straight and from the resultant scrum Brown again rescued a retreating scrum with a pick up, fed Shields whose clearance kick took the ball back up to the 22 metre line.
With the lineout won Bosworth chipped over Spalding’s defence and Cooke, back on, secured the ball only one metre from his try line. A pass back to Sharman and with Bosworth players bearing down he was unable to get in his clearance kick to touch. The ball was lost and was spread wide along their three-quarters and their right-winger was in for the converted try.
As the ball sailed over the posts the referee blew for time and the crowd was stunned.
Spalding: Barrett, Cooke, Cowell, Heighton, Templer, Piccaver, Sharman, H Brown, Shields, McHugh, Harrison, Williamson, G Brown, Douglas, Childs, Duerden, Broome, Rowlands.