RUGBY UNION: Derby defeat for Spalding
Spalding missed a golden chance to collect their first away win of the season.
A disappointing second-half display allowed Kesteven to steal victory with a converted try - even though they were one man down at the time as a result of a yellow card.
With all the advantages in the first half, Kesteven looked to press Spalding back from the kick-off.
Spalding’s response was solid with defensive tackles stopping Kesteven gaining any momentum.
But a neat kick over the top saw the home team’s left-winger gather the ball and score under the posts for a converted try.
Kesteven were exerting pressure in the scrums and, with the front row popping up, the resulting penalty was kicked for a lead of 10 points
after 15 minutes.
Spalding stunned the home team with their willingness to run the ball from deep and Mark Haighton was on hand to finish off the move for a try which was not converted.
Although under pressure at times, Spalding were playing controlled rugby led by the experienced Harry Sharman in the pack and Kesteven were struggling to create any clear scoring opportunities.
With half-time approaching, Spalding worked the ball out to Gav Sharman to level the score with an unconverted try.
Instead of kicking on and dominating the second half, Spalding lost their pattern of play - failing to kick for territory with wind and slope advantage so failing to pin Kesteven back deep in their 22.
Errors were also creeping into their game with knock-ons and key lineout possession lost.
Finally with Spalding using their forwards repeatedly on the Kestven try line to edge their way over, Sharman’s strength found a way through for a further unconverted try for a five-point lead.
Captain Dan Adams was trying to lead his team from the front with several strong runs through the middle and with a high tackle coming in, Kesteven lost a player for 10 minutes with a yellow card.
With a one-man advantage Spalding should have made it count to seal victory but poor tactical decisions and lack of experience saw them waste the opportunity.
On one of their few outings into Spalding territory during the second half, Kesteven grabbed the winning score.
Using their backs, they broke upfield and at the tackle area their scrum-half spotted a lack of defence at the side of the ruck and ran under the posts to score. The conversion sealed victory by two points.
An unhappy Spalding left the field after the final whistle knowing that a potential five-point bonus win had been thrown away by the second-half performance.