SPALDING RFC 49 LOUGHBOROUGH RFC 12: A try treble from skipper Harry Sharman guided Spalding RFC to a much-needed bonus-point win on Saturday – and moved them to within six points of the Midlands Two East (North) summit.
Further scores from Harry Harrison (2), Andy Lal and Ben Williams ensured that it was an emphatic win for Town at the Memorial Field, while James West kicked all seven conversions.
Needing maximum points to close the gap on league leaders Belgrave, Spalding were quick out of the blocks against mid-table Loughborough.
With a strong wind behind them in the first, Town were ahead inside three minutes when Williams collected a weak clearance and crossed the line from a few strides out. West converted confidently.
The lead lasted just two minutes, though, as an interception by the visitors’ centre saw him have a clear 70 metre run to score under the posts – making the conversion was a formality.
Undeterred, Spalding were awarded a penalty on the 22 metre line and West kicked for touch. Town won the lineout and drove for the line from five metres out, with Sharman driven over the line for his first try of the afternoon. West converted again.
The hosts carried on attacking and added to their lead when Williams spun the ball out to the left for winger Harrison, who used his speed to beat the defence and touch down. West added the extra points from a tough angle.
Loughborough broke away to add a second, unconverted, try – but Spalding hit back with another seven-point haul before the break.
Some 40 yards from the line, captain Sharman broke through the away defence and kicked the ball forward, before winning the race to crash over for his side’s fourth try, which West again converted.
It got better for Town in the second period, as Lal chased after his own kick forward to extend their lead. Another excellent West conversion put them 35-12 up.
Next to score was Harrison, who evaded a tackle before adding his second try, again converted by the on-song West.
Not done there, Wes Cope deftly delivered a pass to Sharman, who rounded off the match with his third try – leaving West to complete an impeccable performance with his seventh and final conversion of the day.
Spalding RFC: Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby, Wes Cope, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Tim Waltham, Josh Finch, Ed Duerden, Ben Williams, James West, Andy Lal, George Brown, Ryan Chappell, Harry Harrison, Adam McHugh, Sam Cooke, Andy Hoyles and Harry Brown.
• Saturday: Nottingham Casuals v Spalding (2.15pm).