RUGBY UNION: Second best in derby defeat
Spalding were outplayed as Kesteven executed a far better game plan in Saturday’s derby.
The home team’s fly-half was the outstanding player on the day with not only his forceful running bringing him two tries but also his passing skills and tactical kicking ability.
In contrast, Spalding’s focus on using their forwards brought little reward.
The early exchanges were fairly even with both teams trying to establish superiority.
However, a quick pass from the tackle area by Kesteven’s scrum-half gave their centre an opportunity to open the scoring as he broke through the middle for an unconverted try after seven minutes.
The battle up front continued with perhaps Spalding having a slightly upper hand in the scrums, but Kesteven’s forwards were setting the ball up far better at the tackle area and with their scrum-half / fly-half axis working well, Kesteven backs were getting far more opportunities.
Spalding centres Dan Adams and Tom Wilson were pressing well and if a tackle was missed, full-back George Douglas was on hand to save the day.
With Spalding’s back row forwards defending narrowly, Kesteven’s fly-half spotted a defensive weakness and ran strongly – breaking a couple of desperate tackles for a converted try.
Jason Steels, on a typically forceful break, suffered a pulled quad and was replaced by Harry Brown at number eight.
On the right wing, Ashton Capes had a good run and was only stopped by a last-man tackle, but there was little other threat from Spalding as they continued to use their forwards to try to gain territory – ignoring tactical kicking.
The second half started more brightly for Spalding, with Gav Sharman, at long last, receiving the ball in space and he demonstrated his scoring ability with an unconverted try in the corner.
This lifted the team and for the next 15 minutes, Spalding went searching for the next score with George Berry, Ash Piccaver and Harry Brown making good breaks.
But nearly on all occasions, there were little or no supporting players, resulting in a poorly executed offloads or the ball being lost in the tackle.
Luke Turner went off for a while with an ankle injury and Douglas suffered a dead leg with Kieran Bailey coming off the bench on both occasions.
With 10 minutes left, Kesteven killed off any revival thoughts Spalding may have had, with their star fly-half bursting through the middle again and with tackles being missed a converted try was scored.
Kesteven went for their fourth try – again it was their fly-half demonstrating his range of skills with a well executed kick and the right-winger was in to secure the extra bonus point.
Spalding: Freeman, Barrett, Hudson, Turner, Berry, Anker, Piccaver, Steels, Cooke, Shields, Sharman, Adams, Wilson, Capes, Douglas. Subs Bailey, Reid, Brown.
Results: Buxton 39 Belper 11, Grimsby 18 Ashby 15, Kesteven 24 Spalding 5, Long Eaton 46 Sleaford 0, Mansfield 19 Sileby 5, Nottingham Moderns 15 Rolls Royce 17.
Fixture: Buxton v Spalding.
MIDLANDS FOUR EAST SOUTH
Results: Bourne 51 Aylestone St James 14, Brackley 20 Wellingborough OGs 23, Deepings 37 Thorney 8, St Neots 57 Stamford College Old Boys 17.