Saturday’s loss was a big disappointment to the Spalding players following the previous week’s spirited performance – especially with, on paper, a strong team.
They made life difficult for themselves with a series of penalties being conceded throughout the game and if Market Bosworth’s penalty kicker had been on form they would have been out of sight by half-time.
The first two penalties were conceded within the opening minutes, both for not releasing.
But it was not until the 13th minute that the home team opened the score with a scrum five metres from the posts and with Spalding’s pack going backwards Bosworth’s number eight picked up and went blind for a converted try.
From another penalty Bosworth kicked into the corner for a lineout and a successful catch followed by a driving maul saw them over for a second try with Ash Piccaver yellow-carded for attempting to pull the maul down.
Another bad penalty kick miss by Bosworth, again conceded by Spalding for not releasing, was followed by a few phases of play which saw them in the corner and a good offload and another try was conceded.
Spalding had moments in the first half but wasted their opportunities.
Centre George Brown, twice with crash ball moves in front of Bosworth’s posts, was penalised for hanging onto the ball once tackled.
Again they tried to force their way through and lost possession while all the time Spalding’s wide men with pace – centre Harry Harrison and wingers Gav Sharman and Adam Castle – were being starved of the ball.
By half-time Spalding were 17 points adrift.
Matters were not helped a quarter of an hour into the second half when flanker Harry Waine was harshly penalised for a swinging arm at a ruck.
By now Bosworth had given up on kicking for goal but went for touch in the corner.
A catch and drive from the lineout and another try was added to the home team’s tally.
To their credit Spalding’s superior fitness and their determination to never give up saw them spring a revival.
Ryan Chappell broke down the middle with his strength and speed, then fed Ash Anker who powered over the line with Harrison converting.
Next came a bit of magic from Castle. Collecting a loose ball, he made a break down the left wing. With Bosworth’s defence closing in he chipped over, collected the ball and made a long pass out to Sharman on the other wing to score a spectacular try and close the gap to 10 points with 10 minutes left to play.
However again it was the penalty count that let Spalding down.
Within two minutes Bosworth were pressing from the restart and Spalding were caught deliberately coming around the side of a maul and a penalty try was awarded.
But Spalding’s spirit saw them power back upfield and a series of phases in play saw Anker break a couple of tackles and over the line for the final converted score of the match.
Spalding are going to struggle this season if they continue to give so many penalties away, immediately giving the opposition either a penalty kick at goal or the opportunity to kick and gaining valuable territory.
Their exit strategy in defence of running and carrying the ball in the wrong areas instead of clearing their lines with good long clearance kicks needs to change.
However the team are relatively young and should learn quickly, building on their team spirit which has been amply demonstrated in recent games.
Spalding: Osborne, Cowell, Barrett, Templer, Piccaver, Anker, Cooke, Chappell, Shields, Winch, Castle, Brown, Harrison, Gav Sharman, Douglas. Subs: Hutson, Huw Sharman, Waine.