Spalding RFC’s fantastic run in the NLD Cup came to an end as they were beaten 13-0 by a strong Newark side in the semi-finals.
With a bitter wind and occasional snow storms, temperatures dropped way below zero in the last four clash, ensuring it was always going to be a case of which team coped better with the conditions.
Despite a good covering tackle by Harry Wilkinson-Roberts, Newark were able to go 3-0 ahead from an early penalty. Spalding piled on the pressure from the restart, but Wilkinson-Roberts and Luke Jones were unable to secure possession at the rucks and Newark were able to kick downfield.
They soon added to their score, with a well-timed reverse intrusion from their full back allowing him to run clear for an unconverted try.
Newark then extended their lead just before the break. A speculative kick up the field saw a number of Spalding players combine to make a hash of clearing the ball, allowing their opposition to poach a try which again went unconverted. To make matters worse, John McManus was also unlucky to receive a yellow card when his attempt to secure the ball ended with him landing on top of a Newark player.
As they tried to launch a second-half fightback, Town’s young guns found it difficult to get out of their own half – and missing two long touch kicks from penalty awards did not help the situation.
In the last quarter of the game, Spalding’s forwards began to exert some authority with driving efforts from Jones, Wilkinson-Roberts and Alex Worth. But again, their lack of control at the ruck often led to Newark being able to sneak possession.
Although Newark had a player sin-binned for illegally stopping what looked like a certain try, they were deserved winners and progress to the final at Town’s expense.