RUGBY: Loss sends Town into bottom three

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TOWCESTRIANS RFC 34 SPALDING RFC 16: Town dropped back into the Midlands One East drop zone with just three games to play after suffering defeat in Towcester on Saturday.

After two previous postponements due to bad weather, the match eventually took place on a much-improved pitch, although wind and rain still made for a testing afternoon.

Spalding won the toss and chose to have the advantage of the wind and the slope in the first half – but failed to take advantage of the elements.

They were behind as early as the third minute, with the hosts’ left winger crashing over for an early try. The conversion failed.

Town did their best to fight back and took play into the Towcestrians 22 metre area. They were eventually judged to be offside from a scrum though, allowing the hosts possession of the ball.

They passed it out to their three quarters and scored their second try left of the posts, which this time was converted.

The next 15 minutes saw the best of Spalding in the first half. Dave Hankinson kicked for position and touch was found some five metres out.

Although the home side cleared their lines the ball did not go far enough and Spalding were soon back in their opponents’ 22 metre area. The ball went through the hands of the visitors’ three-quarters to winger Kevin Childs, who beat three defenders before being stopped eight metres short of the try line.

A penalty to Spalding followed and Hankinson converted to give his side their first points after 20 minutes .

A repeat performance came after another five minutes. Again, in a similar position, Town were awarded another penalty and Hankinson made the score 12-6.

The Spalding kicker had another opportunity to add three points to his team’s total soon after, but the ball narrowly missed the posts.

Trailing 12-6 at the interval, the visitors started well in the second period – but on two occasions Childs was stopped just shy of the try line. The hosts then put the boot in, adding a further three points from a penalty to extend their lead.

It got worse for Spalding when Towcestrians won the ball from a lineout to notch another try, which again was converted. A penalty moments later then extended their lead to 22-6.

Not done there, the hosts sped down the right and effectively sealed their win with a further converted try.

Town refused to lie down though – and eventually registered their first try. A quickly-taken penalty from skipper Harry Sharman allowed Harry Brown to touch down. Hankinson’s conversion missed.

Two more scores followed, with Towcestrians once again crossing the line before Sharman showed great speed and strength to beat a few men and touch down.

Town: Harry Sharman (captain), Peter Waudby, Craig Dowse, Sam Cooke, Pat Shire, Alex Coates, Callum Thomson, Luke Scotney, Harry Brown, Dave Hankinson, Kevin Childs, Ryan Chappell, Rhys Thomson, Harry Harrison, Ben Williamson, Ollie Lake, Adam McHugh, Harry Winch.

Tonight: Newark v Spalding RFC (NLD semi-final, 8pm); Saturday: Market Bosworth v Spalding RFC.