Spalding beat Stamford in disciplined derby display at Memorial Field
Spalding maintained the form that saw them go through November unbeaten with a disciplined display and victory over league leaders Stamford at Memorial Field.
The Elephants has previously beaten their opponents in an NLD (Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire) Cup match at the end of August, although Stamford were without a number of regular first team players at the time.
But for this derby match, Stamford took on Spalding with the confidence of only having lost once this season.
Looking to impose themselves on the game, the visitors immediately had Spalding on the back foot, encamping themselves deep inside their hosts’ 22-metre line as Stamford’s forwards set up a series of rucks and carries.
Under intense pressure for the opening quarter of an hour, Spalding’s defence held firm, showing excellent solidity and closing down any space for Stamford to work in.
The Elephants’ young lock Miguel Da Silva showed this determination when he turned over a vital ruck ball which Conall Mason was then able to kick clear.
With no quarter given by either side, it was no surprise when the referee showed a yellow card to Stamford’s lock and minutes later Da Silva suffered a similar fate.
Despite this setback, Spalding were looking impressive in the scrum as props Peter Waudby and Luke Turner imposed themselves on the opposition.
Spalding’s opening points came three minutes before half time when Mason kicked a penalty.
Then two minutes later a kick out to winger Gav Sharman saw him secure the ball and offload with a looping pass back inside which found full back Ed Booth up in attack to run in for the opening try.
With an eight-point deficit to claw back, Stamford came out all fired up for the second half, pinning Spalding back in defence as they encamped themselves deep in their opponent’s half.
The pressure eventually resulted in an unconverted try to which Spalding’s response was impressive.
Hooker John Barrett had a run for the try line stopped just an arm’s length away as his team-mates surged forward through Harry Sharman and Ryan Chappell.
From a ruck established after a good carry from Turner, the ball ran loose and Harry Cole was there to carry the ball over the line for an unconverted try.
Meanwhile, lock Jordan Templer was having a very dominant day in the lineout as Stamford struggled to get to grips with Spalding’s variations in play.
With excellent ball being provided, scrum half Harry Exley was able to move the ball out to the backs, while Town captain Dan Adams was cutting back inside with powerful runs.
But as both defences were nullifying any ambitious play by the backs, the two teams were forced into kicking for territory, with Spalding’s Harry Sharman leading the way and Mason chipping in.
The breakdown battle was still intense as Jacob Greaves replaced Turner before, steadily, Stamford’s frustration built up again as they were making little headway.
The penalty count against them was mounting up, with Willis Ingleby kicking for touch before Templer won another lineout and Spalding established another successful ruck.
Stamford’s scrum half was then yellow-carded for dissent and with the clock ticking down, a further Stamford player received a yellow card.
This was the signal for Spalding to go for the jugular when Ingleby kicked for touch five metres out.
With a lineout won, a driving maul established and Stamford desperately defending, Chappell drove forward with the support of Sharman and went over for a try in the final minute of the match.
Mason’s excellent conversion meant that Stamford were denied a losing bonus point in a match that saw open, flowing rugby give way to a tough, highly competitive game where both sets of forwards challenged for field position, while the backs dealt with any breaks.
SPALDING: Waudby, Barrett, Turner, Da Silva, Templer, Cole, Chappell, Harry Sharman, Exley, Lewis, Adams, Ingleby, Gav Sharman, Booth.Subs: Greaves, Shields, Brown.
More by this authorWinston Brown