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Golden chances wasted by Spalding in a damp display

Spalding suffered a fourth defeat in five league games with an uninspiring display.

They had a couple of good opportunities in the first half to build a lead but squandered them.

Bedford Queens took control just before half-time and never looked back based on their set of forwards in the wet conditions.


Spalding were left slightly depleted through injuries and some unavailability of players.

Into the breach came Kev Hudson in the front row, Ed Williams at lock, Ben Shields in his preferred role at scrum-half and Reece Calaby at outside centre.

Queens were fielding perhaps their strongest team of the season with a big pack of forwards and from the kick-off it was fairly obvious that they would be looking towards their pack to gain advantage.

With fliers like Gav Sharman and Callum Lewis on the wings, and the attacking qualities of Conall Mason at full-back, Spalding should have been looking to get the ball out wide away from the forward battle.

The opening quarter of an hour saw both teams getting used to the conditions and with the inevitable handling errors, scrums featured heavily.

Queens opened the scoring after their forwards gained field position and the ball was passed out to their right-winger to score in the corner.

Spalding’s response was swift with their forwards gaining territory and from a ruck, the ball passed swiftly out to Sharman who rounded his opposite number with his pace for an unconverted try.

This score lifted the players as they edged on top but wasted a couple of golden chances to score with the try line in sight.

Ben Shields received a nasty gash to his forehead and was replaced by Harry Exley who settled into the role straight away.

With only a couple of minutes remaining of the first half, Queens broke through Spalding’s defence. After a missed tackle by the backs and with the try converted, the home team had edged in front.

Directly from the kick-off, Spalding pressed Queens deep in their half.

A forwards was yellow-carded as they defended their line but the advantage was lost and the half-time whistle blew.

The second half was a story of domination by the Queens’ pack of forwards both at the lineout and at the scrums with their number eight controlling the game, setting up either a series of mauls or rucks.

Spalding were caught offside and a kick to touch, a lineout win and a driving maul saw Queens’ lead increase.

The game was crying out for Spalding to move the ball along the backs to give their wingers an opportunity to run but their ability to manage their own game seemed to fall apart.

Ash Anker, already carrying an injury, was substituted by Charlie Johnson slotting into the backs with Calaby moving to flanker.

Queens’ forwards continued to make inroads with their pick and drive and rolling mauls from lineouts.

It was no surprise when one of their locks burst forward and dived over the line.

For the last 20 minutes, Queens continued to keep the ball within their forwards while Spalding failed to regain any of their first-half momentum.

Results: Dunstablians 7 Stockwood Park 20, Huntingdon & District 22 Daventry 14, Northampton BBOB 0 Bourne 17, Oakham 19 Stamford 12, Queens 24 Spalding 5, Rushden & Higham 22 St Neots 10.


Results: Birstall 20 Bedford Swifts 0, Brackley 16 Aylestone St James 3, Deepings 27 Wellingborough Old Grammarians 0, Northampton Men’s Own 47 Stamford College Old Boys 3.

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