PHOTO GALLERY: Mason seals derby win in tough test at new home
Spalding celebrated a derby win in the first competitive senior match at the new ground on Saturday.
Both teams played at the same level last season in Midlands Three East and this was always going to be a tough, highly-competitive game.
With a solid surface and a good crowd along the touchlines, Stamford started the brighter with their forwards immediately driving forward and setting up a series of rucks.
Within two minutes they were over for a deserved early try. With a strong wind affecting kicking, the conversion was missed.
Stamford were having more of the territory and possession but once Spalding had the ball released to their backs, danger lurked.
Full-back Connall Mason joined in a counter-attack, dummied a pass and cut back inside Stamford’s defence to score nearly under the posts. With fly-half Willis Ingleby missing the conversion, the scores were level after seven minutes.
Steadily, Spalding started gaining the upper hand led by the forwards and especially the front row of Jacob Greaves, John Barrett and Luke Turner dominating their opposition.
Spalding were carrying the ball effectively through Ash Anker and Ash Piccaver.
With quick ball from a ruck just inside Stamford’s half, scrum-half Will Shields passed to Ingelby whose pop pass found captain Dan Adams crashing through the middle.
With just the full-back to beat, Adams passed to winger Gav Sharman to run in unopposed for Spalding’s second try.
Both Stamford and Spalding were forced to make changes, with two of the visitors’ front row departing and Piccaver with an ankle injury being replaced by Mark Haighton.
With the wind advantage in the second half, Spalding were looking to drive home their advantage.
But to Stamford’s credit they started to show more determination and teamwork, retaining possession in their forwards.
Matters were also not helped by the number of penalties given away by Spalding, especially at the breakdown.
With good kicks to touch and with a better lineout, Stamford were having the majority of possession.
Spalding’s backs secured the win as they counter-attacked down the left wing with Sharman outpacing the defence.
With Stamford’s remaining defender closing in, a good inside pass found the supporting runner Mason who had a clear run in.
With his successful conversion, Spalding had a 12-point lead with 13 minutes remaining and looked to have sealed the match.
However, with two minutes remaining Stamford snatched a deserved second try.
Spalding’s restart was deep and good, giving the visitors no time or space to snatch a result.
Adams said: “Our focus this season will be on the league, but if we have a good cup run we will take it.”
Spalding will have another friendly match at Wisbech on Saturday (3pm).