Gallant Spalding edged out by strong Worcester in Plate

Spalding under-17s with coach Simon Faulkner (left).
Spalding under-17s with coach Simon Faulkner (left).
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MIDLANDS U17 REGIONAL PLATE SEMI-FINAL: Spalding Under-17s 7 Worcester Under-17s 10

Spalding’s up and coming rugby stars made their Memorial Field audience proud despite a narrow defeat to Worcester in their Midlands Under-17 Regional Plate semi-final today.

I’m very proud of the lads because it was a strong team we were up against in Worcester who were a much bigger, more physical side

Simon Faulkner, Spalding RUFC under-17s coach

Coach Simon Faulkner found himself faced by crucial absences, including ex-Spalding Grammar School rugby prospect Corey Lewis, against a Worcester side who towered over their opponents physically.

But what Spalding liked in size they more than made up for in spirit, bouncing back from an early unconverted try by Worcester’s Eamonn Daly to lead 7-5 at half-time.

Centre JJ Faulkner, a former team-mate of Corey’s at Spalding Grammar Spalding, finished off a well-worked move by Town’s young backs which full back and Midlands under-18s trialist Adam Castle converted.

But Tom Birch made the most of a slow start to the second half by Spalding to score what was the winning try in the corner.

Faulkner had a chance late on to put Spalding back in front but just failed in keeping hold of a pass down the wing before time ran out on the young Elephants’ run in one of England Rugby’s national under-17 competitions.

After the game, coach Faulkner said: “I’m very proud of the lads because it was a strong team we were up against.

“Worcester were a much bigger, more physical side and at the kick off, we thought we were in trouble because they pressured us and got a try early on which they didn’t convert.

“We also had injuries which meant that we had to make changes and bring some of the under-16s in who acquitted themselves well.

“But we took the game to them and scored a lovely try through the backs which JJ Faulkner finished off.

“In the second half, we didn’t start as quickly as Worcester which made it harder for us to defend against them.

“But everybody did so well, especially Ben Rippon and James Thomas at scrum half, in what was our toughest game this year.”

SPALDING: Adam Castle, Will Morgan, Jack Whadcock, JJ Faulkner, William Parsons, Mark Hendy, James Thomas, Chris Emery, Callum Scuffham, Ben Rippon, Elliot Kulliseid, Connor Barnes, Alex Watson, Ciaran Thompson, Tom Birdseye. Replacements: Conall Mason, Harry Wilkinson-Roberts, Ben Shields, Harrison Cole, Finlay Peters, Finlay Smylie, Cade Moyses.