Spalding move out of bottom two

  • Midlands Two East (North) - Nottingham Casuals 17 Spalding 23
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Has the tide finally turned on Spalding’s season with this first away win and their first double in the league?

Having narrowly beaten Nottingham Casuals 26-22 earlier in the year, Town travelled west with a team which has started to have a more settled look of late.

After a couple of sterling performances at prop Mikey Watts started in the front row with Pete Waudby on the bench.

Ash Anker and Tim Waltham were this week’s lock pairing and in the backs both winger Chris Eggleton and full-back Ed Booth retained their places.

From the kick-off Spalding showed greater discipline at the breakdown with Casuals conceding a series of penalties as Town worked their way down the pitch with the benefit of the wind in their favour.

With the ball secured from a scrum it was kicked forward down the left-hand side.

Booth chased, picked up and touched down for the opening unconverted try.

Casuals immediately responded from the kick-off, testing Spalding’s defence to the limit but it held with the forwards working hard – turning a tackle into a maul and holding the ball carrier up and gaining several turnovers.

However, Nottingham Casuals’ excellent No.10 finally broke the line to level the scores.

Jay Harwood was yellow-carded for not releasing at the breakdown but shortly afterwards Casuals infringed again and with the penalty in front of the post Tom Winch converted.

Spalding continued to press and desperate defence on their line saw Casuals’ No.2 yellow-carded for not releasing the ball centimetres short of the try line.

However, a quickly-taken tap penalty did not bring any reward and Town went into half-time with a three-point lead.

The game started to open up in the second half started by Spalding using ‘pick and go’ tactics around the breakdown and Harry Sharman spotted a gap on the blind side for an unconverted try.

A further notable bonus for Spalding was winning the ball against the head at a Casuals scrum but the home team kept coming forward and from a five-metre scrum the ball flowed along the backs and a missed tackle saw the lead being reduced to a single point.

It was now the home team’s turn to defend on their line with a Spalding driving maul from a lineout being illegally stopped just before the try line.

A quick tapped penalty saw Adam McHugh on a crash ball move break through the defensive tackle and go over for Spalding’s third try.

The best move of the game was still to come.

Deep in their half Spalding won another turnover ball at a failed maul.

From the scrum Harry Brown picked up the ball at the base, feeding scrum-half Will Shields.

As he had done throughout the match, a quick and accurate pass to fly-half McHugh saw him burst through a tackle on their 22-metre line and race up to halfway, passing to Booth who continued the move.

With the last covering Casuals player being drawn in, a sublime pass released Adams down the wing for a wonderful team try which extended the lead to 11 points.

Town now had 10 minutes to hold out as Nottingham Casuals tried to get something out of the game and in the last minute they were rewarded with the final try.

This was a well deserved victory and with four tries scored, a bonus point way win had been secured, helping Town move out of the bottom two in the league for the first time.

Spalding: Watts, Cooke, Moore, Anker, Waltham, Harwood, Sharman, H Brown, Shields, McHugh, Eggleton, Williams, G Brown, Winch, Booth. Subs: Waudby, Moore, Adams.