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Spalding under-14s reach NLD Shield final after beating Melbourne




Two of Spalding's junior rugby teams are still hoping for a chance of winning silverware once the coronavirus crisis has eased.

The Elephants' under-14s reached the NLD (Notts, Lincs & Derbys) Shield final with a 27-21 win over Melbourne just a few hours after the under-15s romped to a 29-7 defeat of Newark in their NLD Cup semi-final.

Both matches at Spalding's New Ground took place the day after the men's 1sts lifted the Midlands RFU Senior Vase with a 26-15 win at Dunstablians.

Spalding under-14s against Melbourne in their NLD Shield semi-final at the New Ground.Photo by Sarah Whelan.
Spalding under-14s against Melbourne in their NLD Shield semi-final at the New Ground.Photo by Sarah Whelan.

Mark Shields, under-14s coach, said: "Some of the boys actually travelled to see the Vase game so they knew it was a big thing for the club.

"Then the under-15 boys won their game, having kicked off before the under-14s, so they probably wanted to win even more in order to be the cherry on top of the cake."

After an early lead for Melbourne, Spalding recovered through tries from Alfie Lewis, Lucas Drew, Harry West, Oscar Shields and Alfie Hoyles.

Coach Shields said: "We had it in the back of our minds that there probably wouldn't be any more rugby this season after the semi-final.

"But the boys pulled together really well and it was probably the best I've seen them play this season."

The under-14s are set to face Scunthorpe in their final, having reached the last four with comprehensive wins in all three of their group matches.

Spalding managed to run up scores of 57-7, 50-0 and 50-0 against Nottingham Moderns, Ashfield RUFC and Chesterfield Panthers respectively.

Spalding under-14s against Melbourne in their NLD Shield semi-final at the New Ground.Photo by Sarah Whelan.
Spalding under-14s against Melbourne in their NLD Shield semi-final at the New Ground.Photo by Sarah Whelan.

Unsurprisingly then, Jack Grundy led out a strong, disciplined and confident team to take on Melbourne.

However, Spalding conceded seven points in the initial minutes of the match.

Shortly afterwards though, Alfie Lewis grounded the ball over the try line in what was his first match for Spalding since returning from injury.

Spalding under-14s against Melbourne in their NLD Shield semi-final at the New Ground.Photo by Sarah Whelan.
Spalding under-14s against Melbourne in their NLD Shield semi-final at the New Ground.Photo by Sarah Whelan.

Lucas Drew’s try put Spalding ahead before Harry West and Oscar Shields also crossed over the try line as Spalding dominated the scrum, frequently gaining control of the ball from Melbourne’s put-ins.

But the wet and windy conditions made kicking tough for fly half Ned West who also had to facealmost impossible angles when attempting conversions or penalties.

Melbourne snapped at Spalding’s heels throughout the match and the Derbyshire boys threatened a comeback just as the full-time whistle approached.

But a final try from Alfie Hoyles who shrugged off his opponent before sprinting down the wing put Spalding through to an NLD Shield final against Scunthorpe which could take place at the start of the new season in September.



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