Spalding caught cold in second half

Spalding Rugby Club
Spalding Rugby Club
  • Midlands Two East (North) - Ashbourne 25 Spalding 7
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Saturday’s rearranged fixture at Ashbourne was third-time lucky with bad weather causing the previous two dates to be called off.

The difficulties at fly-half continued for Spalding with unavailability and injuries resulting in Harry Brown switching from his forwards role to unfamiliar territory in the backs.

The return of Tom Duerden at number eight was a bonus together with the returning Ash Piccaver.

Spalding kicked off with slope advantage but the home team soon caught Town off guard, winning their ball at a scrum and at the following ruck the forwards were over near the corner.

The centre partnership of George Brown and Harry Harrison created a glorious opening as they sliced through the defensive cover at pace, only for the final pass to go astray with the try line beckoning.

Brian Browne sustained a knock and was replaced by Chris Douglas on the right wing.

Spalding’s confidence grew and a lineout was well won by Ash Anker whose pass out by Will Shields to Harry Brown saw him go back inside for George Douglas to burst from the wing, breaking defensive tackles and offloading to George Brown who was supporting for a superb try with Harrison converting and a two-point advantage.

With half-time beckoning the home team’s forwards established a driving maul near Spalding’s line and a blindside break and the unconverted try edged them back in the lead.

Having battled away throughout the first half to good effect, Spalding were caught cold within the first 10 minutes of the restart with three unanswered tries.

Firstly from a scrum Ashbourne broke and their tricky left-winger was in.

Next a turnover ball was won and a kick through was won by Ashbourne’s right-winger.

Then Spalding lost their own lineout ball deep in their half. The ball was passed along the backs and the left-winger again showed his pace to side-step and get in.

Pressure did not ease off but stout defence was called upon by the whole of the Spalding team.

However, it was not all one way as Duerden gained yards with some excellent carries and Piccaver was following his example.

With the last ten minutes Spalding were encamped on Ashbourne’s five-metre line with scrums and a couple of lineouts but it was not Town’s day and they could not breach that final defence.

Spalding: Waudby, Cooke, Cowell, Waltham, Anker, Templer, Piccaver, Duerden, Shields, H Brown, Douglas, G Brown, Harrison, Browne, Winch. Subs: Caley, Douglas.

Spalding remain 10th, just above the relegation zone, ahead of Saturday’s home game against third-placed West Bridgford. Town lost the away fixture 33-12 in November.