Midlands Intermediate Cup - Rushden & Higham 38 Spalding 13
Spalding travelled to Manor Park to play Rushden & Higham in the RFU Intermediate Cup.
After impressing in the early games for the second team Bruno Figueirido made his first start as lock.
Harry Harrison made a return from university at outside centre and partnered Ben Williamson who was also back in the team.
Spalding kicked off with Rushden & Higham gathering the ball in and setting up the first ruck of the day but went off their feet and gave away a penalty 25 metres out which Josh Broome converted.
The home side responded and this time Spalding were penalised for playing the ball on the ground at the breakdown. A kick to touch saw the home team win the lineout ball to establish a driving maul, using their bigger and heavier forward, but the referee gave a knock on over the line.
The home team capitalised on missed defensive tackles to open their scoring under the posts for a converted try.
This opened the door for the home team to dominate the first half and the task was not made any easier when captain Sam Cooke was yellow-carded for infringing as a quick tap penalty was taken.
During the next 10 minutes Rushden ran in three tries with the Spalding defence being exposed by the speed of their left-winger.
Just before half-time one of the home team’s big forwards was red-carded for illegal use of the boot at a breakdown but they were already 24-3 ahead.
Spalding started the second half with a period of pressure as they built through several phases of play with forwards making ground but the home team’s defence held out.
Again using their superior sstrength within the forwards Rushden established a good driving maul following a line-out to move further ahead and this was followed by three missed tackles in midfield for a converted try.
With 20 minutes to play another heavy defeat was on the cards but suddenly Spalding started to play, passing the ball along the three-quarters and finding gaps to gain some territory.
Ash Piccaver went over for two tries as dominant play gave an indication that progress is being made.
Spalding: Cowell, Caley, Barrett, Figueirido, Bailey, Piccaver, Cooke, Templer, Shields, McHugh, Lake, Williamson, Harrison, Seconde, Broome, Reid, Douglas, Adams.