Spalding win first home league game to celebrate president's weekend
Following the opening away league defeat, Saturday's game was an opportunity to start setting down a marker that the Memorial Ground would continue to be a fortress this season.
Conall Mason started the scoring for Spalding with a successful penalty kick.
After a six-month gap Aaron Coupe marked his return in style as the home team forwards advanced deep into Huntingdon’s 22 and a pick and drive saw him over the try line.
A missed tackle by Spalding’s centres gave Huntingdon the opportunity to work the ball out to their right-winger who went over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Pete Wauby also came back with a break through the middle. With Huntingdon’s defence in retreat, the ball was worked out by scrum-half Wilson Crowson.
Ben Shields showed his pace on the right wing with a final sidestep for an excellent try and, with Mason converting, Spalding headed towards half-time with a 10-point advantage.
The break allowed Huntingdon to regroup and they came out in the second half to dominate the next quarter with Spalding struggling to make any inroads.
Finally Huntingdon broke Spalding’s defence and went under the posts for a converted try, closing the score to only two points.
Captain Dan Adams started to use the bench with prop Jacob Greaves and lock Jordan Templar replaced by Luke Turner and Jason Steels, followed by Adams going off and replaced by George Brown.
With fresh legs, Spalding started to get back into the picture.
Harry Cole made one of his many breaks with Harry Sharman backing up, Huntingdon’s defence was in disarray.
Sharman’s pass out to Brown into space allowed him race in from 20 metres unopposed to score under the posts. With Mason converting, Spalding’s 10-point lead had been restored.
Next Spalding went for the speculative with a penalty kick from the halfway line but Mason’s kick just fell short.
Spalding’s scrum got on top and they shoved the visitors off their own ball.
Huntingdon were struggling to get out of their half with Spalding having weathered the second-half revival.
The home side dominated the last quarter with their superior fitness but Huntingdon continued to defy Spalding with their defensive efforts.
However, the icing on the cake was provided by fly-half Willis Ingleby in the last minute.
Deep in Huntingdon’s territory and with their backs pressing up in defence, he sent a grubber kick through and followed up.
Huntingdon’s full-back seemed to have the ball covered but somehow missed the ball as it bounced through at pace and Ingleby picked up to score. With the conversion Spalding had also secured the try bonus point.
The president's weekend was a great success as the Nomads, Colts and under-15s also won at home.
More by this authorMark Lea