Spalding build confidence ahead of trip to league leaders
Spalding recorded their first away league win of the season at bottom-of-the-table St Neots.
The home team battled hard in the first half but there was a clear difference after half-time as the visitors started to run in tries.
It may be a different story next week against league leaders Stockwood Park but this result should build confidence.
Fielding a strong team - with minimal changes from the previous week - the opening minutes saw a slow start by Spalding.
St Neots took early advantage by pressing forward and with their forwards and backs combining well, they went under the posts for a converted try after seven minutes.
St Neots' set scrum was a match for Spalding’s pack for the first half.
Spalding’s backs looked more threatening but were finding it difficult to find space and get their passing game going.
After 20 minutes Willis Ingleby came off the bench to take the fly-half berth with Conall Mason moving to full-back, Gav Sharman going to his more familiar left-wing position and Callum Lewis onto the bench.
An immediate effect was seen as flanker Ryan Chappell made a typical tackle-busting run and a pass out to Sharman saw him outpace St Neots defence for Spalding’s opening try.
Minutes later Sharman thought he was in for his second try but a foot in touch ruled his effort out.
Steadily Spalding were seeing more of the ball with Harry Sharman controlling matters at the base of the scrum, Ash Anker winning his own lineout possession and captain Dan Adams starting to dictate play.
Scrum-half Wilson Crowson set play up with a crash ball move and Anker was there to burst through just before half-time for his first try with Spalding having a hard-fought three-point lead at the break.
Straight from the kick-off Spalding were on the front foot, pinning St Neots back deep in their half with good carries from Luke Turner and John Barrett setting up a position five metres out from the try line.
Peter Waudby drove forward followed by Harry Brown but it was Harry Cole who reached out for the try line.
Jacob Greaves came off the bench for Luke Turner and was immediately in the action with a lovely pick up and off load.
The backs swiftly transferred the ball out to Matt Holmes and, with a strong run and a side step, he was over with Mason converting.
Within five minutes Anker burst through the middle, breaking a couple of tackles for his second try. Job done, he was replaced by Harry Exley off the bench.
Crowson then demonstrated what a good scrum-half he is becoming. From a ruck, St Neots' guard defence was weak and Crowson soon darted through, stepped the incoming tackle and charged through the next to score under the posts, converted by Mason.
Lewis replaced Holmes for the last 20 minutes with Mason also back up to fly-half, Ingleby to outside centre and Taylor Crowson to full-back.
This switch enabled Mason to put in a couple of long kicks pinning St Neots back in their half.
Spalding’s pressure again told as Chappell once more showed his turn of pace with St Neots struggling to organise in defence and he sailed past to score under the posts.
This was a confident display by Spalding, showing more patience and teamwork as they steadily built pressure knowing that their fitness would tell in the second half.
More by this authorMark Lea