RUGBY UNION: Shut-out win for Spalding
Spalding booked another home tie by scoring nine tries in Saturday’s impressive display.
They shut out Sleaford to set up a second-round match against Newark on November 10.
Following home league wins over Bakewell and Buxton so far this season, Spalding took to the pitch in a confident mood - helped by coach George Reid being able to pick a relatively strong line-up, especially in the forwards.
Early exchanges were intense with the visitors’ backs showing good passing ability and pace but centres George Brown and Conall Mason made an early impression with a number of good tackles.
However, it was the forwards with strong carries - particularly from Ash Anker and George Berry - who started taking the game to Sleaford.
An offload by Jacob Greaves saw Luke Turner burst through a defensive tackle near the try line and he went over for the opening try.
Five minutes later the forwards again set up a good platform in Sleaford’s 22 and from a ruck, scrum-half Will Shields passed out to captain Dan Adams slicing through Sleaford’s defence for the next try.
Mason converted for a 12-point advantage after 13 minutes.
Spalding’s try-scoring machine Gav Sharman on the left wing was next up, evading Sleaford’s wide defence for another converted try.
By now the home team’s forwards were in control of most phases of play, showing a level of intensity that Sleaford were struggling to match and a deliberate knock-on saw them lose a player for 10 minutes to a yellow card.
Unlike last week, Spalding capitalised. Within a minute, having kicked for touch and Mark Haighton dominating at the front of the lineout, a maul formed and Harry Sharman burst forward to score.
With a half-time lead of 22 points, Adams was replaced by last year’s captain Richard Cooke who played scrum-half with Will Shields moving to fly-half.
Anker used his strength to break two tackles to go under the posts and with a comfortable lead, Reid rang a further change with Kev Hudson replacing George Berry in the pack.
Spalding seemed to lose their shape and sharpness for about 15 minutes but Sleaford were unable to mount any serious threat.
Harry Sharman, controlling matters from the base of a scrum, broke on the blind side with Gav Sharman taking a pass into space for his second try of the afternoon.
Some of the younger players started to shine with forward Harry Cole breaking down the right wing with impressive carries, linking well with Ben Shields who finished off one of the moves as he stepped back inside.
George Douglas, on his return at full-back, found room for his runs and kicks forward while Lewis Adams glided in for his debut try.
On a very blustery day conversion kicks were extremely difficult but once Mason had found his target in the first half, he impressed with a total of four successful conversions.
The final try was scored by Berry who was back on from the bench and after a couple of determined carries he finally found the try line two minutes before the final whistle.
Midlands Three East (North): Ashfield v Kesteven, Bakewell Mannerians v Buxton, Rolls Royce v Nottingham Moderns, Sleaford v Nottingham Casuals, Spalding v Mansfield, Tupton v Belper.
Midlands Three East (South): Biggleswade v Dunstablians, Birstall v Daventry, Rushden & Higham v Queens, St Neots v Northampton Casuals, Stamford v Leicester Forest,
Stockwood Park v Bourne.
Midlands Four East (South): Aylestone St James v Kempston, Deepings v Bedford Swifts, Stamford College Old Boys v Sileby Town, Thorney v Northampton Men’s Own, Wellingborough OGs v Northampton BBOB.