RUGBY: Late heartache hits Spalding RFC’s hopes

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MARKET BOSWORTH 36 SPALDING RFC 34: Town’s hopes of Midlands One East survival took a massive hit on Saturday as rivals Market Bosworth snatched an unlikely comeback victory.

Spalding led 24-12 at half time and also 29-15 at one stage in the second period, but had only themselves to blame as they were stung by a last-gasp converted try by their hosts. The loss leaves Town four points behind Bosworth and Newark with just two games left to play.

Although the home side ran in an early converted try in the basement battle, it was Spalding – skippered by Ryan Chappell with an injured Harry Sharman on the bench – who enjoyed the better of the first period.

The visitors were soon on the scoreboard when a break allowed winger Kevin Childs to use his pace and swerve to cross the line under the posts. The conversion attempt from Rhys Thomson, playing at fly-half in place of the unavailable Dave Hankinson, missed.

Immediately from the restart the ball went to Childs again and this time he charged down the wing, knocking the opposition out of the way, before scoring in the corner. Again the conversion was missed, but the visitors had taken a 10-7 lead.

An injury to Spalding second row Andy Hoyles, who required hospital treatment, forced a reshuffle in the pack and meant Sharman had to resume his role in the back row. Undeterred, a quickly-taken Town penalty was deftly chipped ahead for Childs to score under the posts. The conversion was completed and Spalding now had a lead of 17-7.

Bosworth did battle back with a second try, this time unconverted, but it failed to knock Town out of their stride. Young gun Harry Harrison broke from his own 22 metre line and evaded the immediate defence with his pace and crossed the line under the posts. Thomson added the points for a sizeable half-time lead.

All looked to be going to plan for Spalding when the rampant Childs received the ball and passed inside to Harrison, who in turn passed for Chappell to score.

Thomson’s conversion missed, but they were in a dominant position.

However, a yellow card for Sharman gave Bosworth a man advantage – and they quickly ran in a try to reduce their deficit to 29-22 with two quick unconverted scores. Against the odds Spalding increased their lead when Chappell broke through three tackles before passing to his centre Harrison to go over and score. Although Thomson again missed, it looked to be job done with ten minutes left.

But a converted score brought the home side within five points of Town – and even though Sharman came back onto the field afterwards, it got worse.

A last-gasp lineout saw Boworth gain possession and missed Spalding tackles allowed them over for a try to bring the scores level.

The crucial conversion was good and left Town crushed at the final whistle.

Spalding RFC: Ryan Chappell (captain) , Pete Waudby, Ollie Lake, Alex Ioannou, Mark Haighton, Andy Hoyles, Ed Duerde, Alex Coates, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, Rhys Thomson, Dan Adams, Harry Harrison, Kevin Childs, Ben Williamson, Sam Cooke, Harry Sharman and Harry Winch.

Saturday: Spalding RFC v Loughborough (3pm).