MELTON MOWBRAY RFC 10 SPALDING RFC 22: The Town title charge shows no sign of relenting after another hard-fought away win kept their unblemished Midlands Two East (N) start going.
Tries from James West, Harry Sharman and Harry Harrison guided table-topping Spalding to their seventh win from as many games on Saturday – but it was far from easy.
Basement boys Melton Mowbray belied their humble position to lead 10-3 at the break, forcing Town to deliver a strong second-half showing.
Some 20 points separated the duo prior to kick off and that was evident early on, with Spalding doing all the running. Tim Waltham and Ed Duerden both embarked on rampaging runs forward before being stopped just shy of the line.
They eventually got on the scoreboard in the 15th minute. Having won a lineout, Ben Williamson was stopped just shy of the line. A penalty was awarded and Spalding kicked for touch, before being awarded another penalty.
This time they went for goal, with West making no mistake for 3-0.
From the re-start the visitors hit back and won a penalty of their own to level the scores up once again.
Spalding were all over their opponents in the next 15 minutes, but were unable to add to their tally. On two occasions the Spalding forwards had driven over the line but were unable to touch down to the satisfaction of the referee.
Harry Brown was also stopped just shy of the posts as Town’s frustration grew.
To make matters worse, hosts Melton hit them with a sucker punch before half time.
The home side won the ball off the back of the line and drove forward to cross the line, with the successful conversion putting them seven points ahead at the interval.
Spalding wasted little time in levelling in the second half, as they grabbed their second try inside the opening four minutes.
The visitors were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch. Town then won the ball off the top of the line out and Harry Brown linked with his three-quarters, before fly-half West cut through to touch the ball down.
He then picked himself up to add the conversion to haul his side level at 10-10.
Not content with a share of the spoils, Spalding were awarded a penalty and West kicked to touch just ten metres from the line.
They won the lineout and the ball went to inside centre George Brown, who made valuable metres before being stopped and passing out to his captain Sharman who, from three metres out, was not going to be stopped.
West converted to put Town 17-10 ahead with the final quarter of the match left to play.
Melton made life difficult for their visitors but never looked like scoring again and with the visitors’ superior fitness becoming evident as the match progressed, it was in the final minutes that Spalding secured their win.
They won the lineout and Sharman broke clear, making good ground before passing to his outside centre Harrison, who used his speed to create space before touching down his side’s third try.
West’s conversion failed, but Town’s seventh win on the bounce was in the bag.
Spalding RFC: Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby, Jacob Harwood, Alex Ioannou, Tim Waltham, Ed Duerden, Josh Finch, Harry Brown, Rob Lucas, Matty Newman, James West, George Brown, Harry Harrison, Ben Williamson, Ed Booth, Ollie Lake, Andy Hoyles and Dan Clitheroe.
• Results Midlands Two East (N): Dronfield 29 Stamford 28; Kesteven 10 Belgrave33; Loughborough 29 Bakewell Mannerians 41; Melbourne 8 Ashbourne 3; Melton Mowbray 10 Spalding 22; Nottingham Casuals 17 Oakham 29.
• Midlands Four East (S): Corby 17 Westwood 12; Kempston 22 Bourne 17; Long Buckby 13 Bedford Swifts 19; Old Newtonians 86 Aylestone Athletic 7; Oundle 21 Thorney 3; St Neots (HWO) Stamford College Old Boys.