RUGBY UNION: Another home win for Spalding
Spalding maintained their 100 per cent home record to boost confidence ahead of next weekend's trip to league leaders Nottingham Casuals.
This was a clash of two old adversaries with Mansfield sitting one place above Spalding in the table.
Traditionally the visitors have always had a good set of forwards who led the way to dominate games.
As expected, Spalding looked to take on Mansfield as the front row of Jacob Greaves, John Barrett and Luke Turner had the edge in the scrums but also showed up well in the loose with their superior fitness.
Spalding were playing excellent rugby by retaining the ball and soon found themselves deep in Mansfield territory.
Flanker Ash Anker used his strength and drove over from five metres to open the scoring.
Scrum-half Will Shields gave space and time for fly-half Conall Mason to bring the backs into play and this combination set up a simple run in for winger Ben Shields to score in the corner.
Mansfield's response was expected as they started to use their forwards to gain territory but their ball from the breakdown was slow, allowing
Spalding to organise their defence.
Midway through the first half Spalding’s determination was put to the test near their line with a series of try-saving tackles as the opposition drove forward.
Having weathered the storm, Spalding regained territory. From a ruck, Harry Sharman broke free and with support on his outside, threw a dummy pass and was over the try line with Mason converting for a half-time lead of 17 points.
Mansfield upped their game to dominate the opening period of the second half.
Their forwards had worked hard to gain territory and from the breakdown, the ball was spread wide along the backs to find a gap in the defence.
With a two-on-one, full-back George Douglas was outnumbered and Mansfield believed they were back in the game.
They were stunned by the immediate response from the kick-off.
A high hanging restart kick by Mason allowed Ash Piccaver to claim the ball 30 metres from the try line. He broke free from the initial tackle, swept past two further defenders and went over the try line.
With the forward battle becoming fiery with no quarters being given by either set, the penalty count started to mount up as the referee endeavoured to keep control.
Spalding were kicking for touch and with the lineout working well they were denied a couple of opportunities.
Coach George Reid brought on fresh legs and within a couple of minutes Kieran Bailey had made an impact. Finding himself in surprisingly open space 15 metres from the line, he was left with a simple run in for a converted try.
Spalding were able to see out the final 10 minutes of the match to record an excellent win and move up to fourth in the league.
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