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Spalding Rugby Club are beaten by Melton Mowbray in Midlands 3 East (South) match



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Spalding were literally blown away in the first half of Saturday's Midlands 3 East (South) match at Melton Mowbray.

They conceded two early tries and were unable to adapt their game plan to the conditions while Melton played their cards right to eventually run out 39-17 winners.

Spalding did get a foothold back into the game early in the second half but again failed to use the windy conditions to their advantage.

Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625615)
Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625615)

With pace in their backs, Spalding were unable to bring them into the game during the last crucial 30 minutes of the contest.

The home team's simple plan was to kick downfield using the strong wind to carry the ball an extra 20 to 30 metres or so and to chase down.

Within three minutes of the start, this strategy brought instant results with a kick downfield.

Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625614)
Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625614)

Spalding forwards secured the ball inside their 22 and made a couple of carries before scrum half Ben Shields passed back to fly half Conall Mason to clear.

The wind held the ball up with no distance gained to touch and the Melton line-out and a driving maul secured the opening try for the home team after only three minutes of play.

Five minutes later Spalding lost possession inside Melton's half and a huge kick downfield turned the visiting backs to retreat.

Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625613)
Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625613)

First there was full-back George Douglas picking up in his in goal area with two Melton players running hard to close down. The clearance kick was charged down and the second home try was scored after eight minutes.

Unsurprisingly, Melton continued this winning tactic of kicking downfield ether to touch or pressing Spalding, giving them little opportunity to get into the game.

Spalding were also rubbing up the referee with a number of penalties so, even when they mounted an attack, the ball was turned over.

Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625612)
Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625612)

Melton were pressurising, calling on Spalding’s back row of George Brown, Harry Waine and Will Shields - making his welcome return from a hamstring injury - to put in numerous tackles as they defended.

The home team were starting to use their forwards very effectively with powerful pick and drives and they were over for a 17-point lead.

All was not lost as Spalding pressed forward but, having warned the visitors for the number of penalties conceded, Ben Shields was yellow-carded for a rather innocuous offence of not releasing the ball in a ruck as the visitors were attacking Melton's try line.

Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625611)
Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625611)

A hammer blow was struck to Spalding hopes of getting back into the game when they were on the attack with forwards Pete Waudby and Harry Cole prominent with good carries.

But the ball was turned over and from deep in their own half Melton counter-attacked down the right wing to score a converted try.

Spalding responded with their opening try as the forwards gained territory, won a penalty and good kick by Mason to the corner saw Ash Anker drive over the try line from the line-out.

Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625610)
Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625610)

However, there was an instant response with Melton, from the restart, pinning Spalding deep in their half and using their scrum from five metres to drive powerfully over the line.

With the first half about to conclude Spalding were, at long last, able to mount a backs attack with Taylor Crowson creating the opening for Gav Sharman to slice open Melton’s defence.

With the wind behind them, Spalding were not out of this game and again it was the backs moving the ball quickly along the line for Sharman to grab his second and close Melton's lead to only 12 points with 30 minutes to play and with the wind advantage.

Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625609)
Spalding were beaten 39-17 at Melton Mowbray on Saturday. Photos: Adrian Smith (54625609)

Having made his debut on the left wing, Harvey King strained his hamstring and was replaced by James Luto while MaCauley Crane had come on for Connor Lilburn earlier in the forwards.

Spalding failed to follow Melton's example of using the wind to kick for territory and instead tried to play it through the forwards but the hosts were fully up for the challenge.

Instead of making a comeback and looking for a rare away win, it was Melton who scored two further tries to end a rather disappointing second half for Spalding.

Spalding: Pete Waudby, Ash Anker, Harry Cole, Connor Lilburn, Sam Noble, Harry Waine, Will Shields, George Brown, Ben Shields, Conall Mason, Harry Hudson, Taylor Crowson, Gav Sharman, Harvey King, George Douglas. Subs: Fabian Simpson, James Luto, McCauley Crane.



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