SPALDING RFC 21 DERBY RFC 73: DOMINANT Derby destroyed Town at the Memrial Field on Saturday, leaving their Midlands One East future firmly in the balance.
With Coalville beating Leighton Buzzard 34-21, Spalding are two points clear of the drop zone with games against Loughborough (April 14) and Ilkeston (April 21) left to play.
It was always going to be a tough ask against league leaders Derby, but a lack of commitment and discipline didn’t help Town’s cause.
Derby had their first points on the board inside three minutes. They found touch from a penalty, won the ball and touched down under the posts for a converted try.
A high tackle by Spalding winger Dan Adams then resulted in a penalty try to the visitors, moving the score to 14-0.
Town missed a penalty after good work from Rob Lucas, before poor tackling by the home side’s centres allowed Derby to again touch down under the posts, leaving a simple conversion.
Two more tries went the way of the visitors before the break (one was converted), before Spalding finally got in on the act.
Gutsy running by skipper Harry Sharman, playing despite suffering from tonsillitis, resulted in Adam McHugh crashing over for a try.
Jim Williams converted, making it 7-33 at the interval.
But the second half couldn’t have gone much worse, with two yellow cards seeing Town reduced to 13 players at one stage. Derby were ruthless, running in six more tries – with five being converted – before Spalding had regrouped to a full team.
With the game out of Town’s grasp, their goal was now to net a bonus point by scoring three more tries. Sharman got the ball rolling with the hosts’ second score of the afternoon, converted by Williams.
Replacement centre Jordan Andrade then found a gap before passing to the supporting Tom Duerden, who touched down under the posts. Williams again converted.
With a bonus point now within reach, Spalding piled on the pressure in the closing stages.
But an elusive fourth score failed to materialise, leaving Town in a precarious position at the foot of the table.
Town: Harry Sharman (captain), Ant Buckberry, Jimmy Rowlands, Peter Shakespeare, Mark Haighton, Tom Duerden, Ash Anker, Ed Duerden, Rob Lucas, Jim Williams, Dan Adams, Adam McHugh, Duncan Knight, George Brown, Ben Williams, Jacob Harwood, Harry Brown and Jordan Andrade.
• No fixture on Saturday.