Last-gasp defeat for Spalding
Spalding were beaten on the last play of the match.
They travelled to Northampton BBOBs who were promoted last season.
Playing on an excellent pitch, Spalding started the brighter with the forwards imposing themselves on their opposition.
Ash Anker was dominant with his carries and also as the front jumper in the lineouts.
Harry Sharman was using his experience playing number eight while new locks Connor Lilburn and Macaule Crane soon settled down.
Spalding dominated the first 20 minutes with Northampton BBOBs rarely getting out of their half.
The breakthrough was achieved by scrum-half Will Shields following up the forwards who were picking and driving, led by John Barratt and Jacob Greaves.
The ball was recycled to the back of a breakdown. Shields spotted a gap and sniped through then rolled over the line for the opening try.
Spalding continued to press and after 30 minutes won a lineout. Anker’s carry saw him break through a couple of tackles and passed to Sharman who scored near the right corner flag.
With the restart kick, Northampton BBOBs were able to peg back Spalding into their own half.
With a ruck established, Spalding had possession. An attempted clearance box kick was charged down and Northampton BBOBs won a turnover.
Quick passing along their backs out to the right wing but Spalding’s initial defence was strong. The home team’s forwards were quick to the breakdown and a pick and drive to the line brought their opening try.
Spalding responded and again pinned the home team back deep in their half. From a knock-on they had a scrum on the five-metre line. From the back of the scrum, Sharman broke down the blind side for an unconverted try just before half-time and Spalding had established a deserved 10-point lead.
Having taken a knock in the first half, Shields was substituted by Tom Wilson who slotted into the backs. Sharman went to scrum-half and Jason Steels moved from centre to number eight.
The game started to become more open but still Spalding looked the better team.
Going into a ruck near the halfway line, Wilson handled on the floor - conceding a penalty and being rather harshly yellow-carded.
Flanker Jake Reid moved to the centre and Northampton’s forwards started to impose themselves with a man advantage.
Spalding were having to defend and tackle but they held out for the 10 minutes.
Wilson was back on the pitch and Anker, going into a breakdown, was pushed into a ruck and accidently landed a knee to the back of a Northampton player which saw him yellow-carded.
This time the home team capitalised. They broke through Spalding’s defensive cover to score and with a successful conversion, the lead had been reduced to three points.
Play was opening up with the home team running the ball out wide and Spalding counter-attacking.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, Spalding had a penalty 45 metres out and elected to kick for goal rather than for a corner lineout. The penalty kick fell just short.
A few minutes later Northampton offended and from a similar position Conall Mason was handed the ball to have another kick at goal with a similar result.
With time nearly up, Spalding gave away a penalty on the halfway line.
Northampton BBOBs took a quick tap, spread the ball wide to their left wing and with Spalding defence stretched, ran in the winning converted try. The referee then blew for full-time
Having dominated for long stretches of the match, Spalding left the field extremely disappointed.
More by this authorMark Lea