Spalding at bottom after a third defeat

Spalding were beaten again
Spalding were beaten again
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Midlands Two East (North) - Mansfield 62 Spalding 10

Spalding are stuck at the bottom of the league table after a third successive defeat.

They travelled to Mansfield on Saturday who like Town had been relegated from Midlands One East last season and who also had lost both their opening two games of this term.

The starting XV for the visitors showed nine changes due to injuries sustained and unavailability following last week’s team who had narrowly lost at home to Dronfield.

Making his debut in the front row was Sam Cowell, Jason Steel was at flanker having been out most of last season through injury and Harry Lane made his first start of the season on the left wing.

Captain Sam Cooke was also injured with Adam McHugh stepping up to lead the team.

Playing with the slope of the pitch in their favour Spalding were fairly quickly on the back foot as Mansfield, urged on by the home supporters, used their forwards to gain territory and were pressing on the five-metre line.

Reward quickly came with a converted try after just five minutes.

Minutes later missed tackles and poor defensive alignment by the backs allowed space for Mansfield’s right-winger to touch down followed by an excellent conversion from out wide by the fly-half who went on to have an excellent afternoon.

This was followed by Town’s scrum going backwards and a blindside move started by the number eight, a missed tackle and a further converted try had been leaked.

A repeat five minutes later and Mansfield were already 28 points up within the first 20 minutes.

Town were trying to get into the game led by Harry Brown and Ash Piccaver who were starting to have an influence.

The bonus for Spalding was that the lineout was working reasonably well with Jordan Templer and Mark Heighton to the fore.

Following a successful lineout the ball was moved infield and at the breakdown Mansfield went off their feet with Jos Broome slotting a good penalty kick between the posts from 40 metres.

However minutes later with Mansfield pressing Spalding’s try line a poor pass back to Broome gave him no room to get his kick away and at half-time the home team had a comfortable lead of 35-3.

The afternoon had not been looking bright for the visitors but the opening exchanges of the second half saw Spalding retaining possession of the ball and making encouraging inroads until Mansfield came back with the ball flowing along the line for a try in the corner.

Jim Williams sustained an injury, with Chris Douglas coming off the bench and McHugh moving to fly-half.

This was followed by Rob Lucas, in the unfamiliar role of right-winger, sustaining a head injury to be replaced by Huw Sharman. George Freeman also came off the bench into the front row.

A couple of deep kicks by Mansfield were well fielded by Broome followed by penetrating counter-attacks.

Town built a number of good phases of possession as they went deep into Mansfield’s 22 and with their defence parting John Barrett scored under the posts with Broome converting.

The story of the game continued with further poor tackling in defence allowing Mansfield two further tries.

Spalding: Cowell, Caley, Barrett, Heighton, Templer, Piccaver, Steels, H Brown, Shields, Williams, Lane, McHugh, G Brown, Lucas, Broome, Douglas, Freeman, Sharman.