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Spalding player-coach and captain celebrate 'fantastic achievement' after winning Midlands RFU Senior Vase

Spalding captain Dan Adams and player-coach Harry Sharman took time out from their side's celebrations to reflect on a "fantastic achievement" for the club.

The Elephants' previous best in the RFU (Rugby Football Union) national knock-out competition for clubs playing at level eight had been a quarter-final spot in 2008.

But Saturday's hard-fought win at Midlands Three East (South) rivals Dunstablians leaves Adams, Sharman and their team-mates just one game away from an appearance at Twickenham where the national final is to be played in May.

Spalding captain Dan Adams celebrates with team-mates after lifting the Midlands RFU Senior Vase at Dunstablians. Photo by Adrian Smith.
Spalding captain Dan Adams celebrates with team-mates after lifting the Midlands RFU Senior Vase at Dunstablians. Photo by Adrian Smith.

Adams said: "I'm absolutely delighted about the win, it's a fantastic achievement for the club and a fantastic achievement for the lads.

"Despite having certain parts of our game that we definitely need to improve on, it was a fantastic performance by the boys.

"After drawing at Rushden & Higham in the league last weekend, we saw it as a bit of a wake-up call and so we called on everybody to try and get down to training in the week to work on scrummaging and lineouts.

"Both of them make a huge difference in your preparation for the game and we were a little bit more focused by having everyone there at the training sessions, knowing what we were building towards and knowing we were only going to have one chance to get to where we wanted to be.

"Things weren't perfect on Saturday and we weren't exactly well-drilled, but we're moving in the right direction as we have been all season."

Sharman, in his first season as Spalding player-coach, said: "We had our minds set on winning the game and, credit to the lads, we got over to Dunstablians early.

"The club took a big coachload of 70 supporters and we started the game on the front foot.

"John Barrett's try came about from great forward play, after a driving maul, while Dan's try was through Willis Ingleby breaking from the fly-half position.

The two tries in the second half scored by our wingers, Gav Sharman and Ben Shields, were from good team play and both tries were set up from set-pieces, passing the ball along the line and then scoring in the corner.

"If you train hard, it makes a big difference and we had a team who wanted to put everything right after going away to Rushden & Higham where we didn't have the best performance.

"But as soon as the game finished, our minds quickly turned to the Vase final.

"We turned up for training on Wednesday and Thursday nights, plenty of lads were there and it just felt right."

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