Second half comeback but no cup victory for Spalding

Spalding were beaten 27-12 by Stamford in the first round of the NLD Cup.
Spalding were beaten 27-12 by Stamford in the first round of the NLD Cup.
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Spalding warmed up for their Midlands Two East (North) league opener at Coalville on Saturday with this Notts, Lincs and Derby Cup defeat at Stamford.

Making a welcome return to the front row following a five-year break was Kier Moore, together with Harry Sharman returning and playing in his normal position of openside flank.

Youngsters Taylor Crowson started on the right wing and George Freeman was a replacement prop on the bench.

Playing against the wind in the first half, Spalding settled quickly and confidently and edged the early play.

Unfortunately, with 10 minutes gone, fly-half James West pulled his hamstring and was replaced by Jim Williams

The hosts opened the scoring when their right winger went over for an unconverted try.

Stamford’s number six, who had an outstanding game, increased the lead.

Spalding’s scrum was getting the upper hand with the two young locks of Jordan Templar and Tim Waltham giving a solid platform to the front row allowing the two props, John Barrett and Kier Moore to dominate during the match.

But their ball retention in open play by the forwards was below standard, resulting in turnover ball to Stamford.

Stamford’s inside-centre went over for an unconverted try before George Brown’s run of injuries continued as he took a bad knock to his ankle.

Adam McHugh moved up to inside centre and Josh Finch come off the bench at full-back.

With the half-time whistle looming, Stamford’s number eight ran in under the posts for a converted try to gove the hosts a 22-0 lead at half-time.

With the wind having increased and in Spalding’s favour the only option was to take the game to the opposition in the second period.

Jim Williams started to put some good kicks to touch or behind the opposition wingers to gain territory.

Spalding’s lineout worked well with Harry Sharman giving good ball to Will Shields at scrum-half.

But every time there was a break, the Spalding support play was not there and Harry Brown and Ash Piccaver in particular were caught out on several occasions resulting in turnover ball or a penalty for not realising in a tackle.

Midway through the second period, Sharman broke around the blindside to go over in the corner before an excellent conversion by Charlie Seconde.

A few minutes later, Brown, at the base of the scrum, picked up the ball with Sharman in support.

But the pass was intercepted by Stamford who broke the full length of the field for an unconverted try for a 20-point advantage.

To their credit, Spalding refused to give up and Sharman went over for his second, but unconverted, score of the afternoon.