RUGBY UNION: Positives in another defeat for Spalding

  • Midlands Two East (North) - Newark 31 Spalding 5
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A poor nine-minute spell in the second half undid all the good work from Spalding before the break.

Newark had the distinction of being the only team to have suffered a league defeat at the hands of Spalding earlier in the season but are now lying 
comfortably mid-table with an excellent home record.

By contrast Spalding’s form with some heavy defeats did not bode well for Saturday’s outing.

The story of the game was not so much about how many tries were conceded but the fact at half-time Spalding had Newark worried, being only seven points down, having the more dominant scrum and lineout and having had a try disallowed.

Newark started well and for the first 15 minutes pinned Spalding back in their half, spreading the ball along their speedy backs with quick 
handling looking for the break or an overlap on the wings.

But Spalding’s backs were up for the challenge with Adam Castle back on the wing and Joe Grundy in the centre outside Jason Steels providing the 
energy to close space down and secure their tackles.

Gav Sharman on the right wing was being constantly tested but his tackling and tracking back was outstanding.

When Newark did manage to break through, George Douglas was there with his determined last-ditch tackles or his bravery under a high ball.

Finally Newark made the breakthrough to open their scoring with a converted try after 20 minutes.

From the restart Spalding took the game to Newark with the forwards dominating possession.

Ash Piccaver was proving a handful with his carries and so was captain Tom Duerden as Newark were resorting to relieving kicks to touch.

Josh Caley’s throwing in at lineouts, particularly to Duerden, worked well with Kieran Bailey also winning ball at the front.

From this possession, Kev Hudson drove for the try line – only to be stopped inches short – and moments later a try appeared to have been scored, only to be brought back for a Spalding penalty.

Will Shields made a break down the line but put a fraction of his foot on the line and Castle followed with a break down the same wing but was tackled just short.

At half-time Newark were rattled with the game very much in the balance.

They appeared to have come up with the answer immediately from the restart with their second converted try as they stepped up their intensity.

But Spalding kept battling away, using an intelligent deep kick over Newark’s defence and the chase was on as the ball travelled into the in-goal area with Sharman winning the touchdown for an unconverted try.

A nine-minute spell secured victory with Spalding’s concentration levels lapsing for the first time in the game.

A misplaced pass and a couple of failed tackles on Newark’s centre and suddenly 21 points had been conceded.

With nearly 20 minutes still to play Spalding, to their credit, denied Newark any further scoring opportunities.

Coach Bruno Figueiredo used his full bench to bring fresh energy to his team with Jacob Greaves making his first-team debut in the pack.

Although this was another defeat, there were plenty of positives to take away from the game – if not this season but next year’s campaign.

Spalding: Waudby, Caley, Watts, Hudson, Turner, Piccaver, Bailey, Duerden, Cooke, Castle, Steels, Grundy, Sharman, Douglas. Subs: Cole, Brown, Greaves.