Spalding Rugby Club are beaten by Dunstablians in their final match of the season
Three second half tries sent Spalding to defeat in their final match of the Midlands 3 East (South) season on Saturday.
Town had led second-placed Dunstablians at half-time but were hampered by the number of penalties they conceded and eventually went down to a 19-27 defeat which leaves them finishing second-from-bottom of the table.
Their visitors had arrived at the Memorial Ground by coach to bring two teams with Spalding fielding both firsts and seconds.
With the teams at the opposite ends of the table, the challenge was on for Spalding to repeat the last home victory when they knocked Bourne off second place.
Spalding welcomed back lock Ash Piccaver after a four-month absence and, together with Jordan Templer, another recent returnee, also at lock, the pack was looking strong.
The opening minutes of the match saw both teams settling down with well-organised defences neutralising possession.
However, a striking feature was the unacceptable number of penalties conceded by Spalding, which in turn conceded possession and, with Dunstablians full-back Zach Bourne having a big kick, valuably won territory was being lost.
Dunstablians. realising that the Spalding forwards were well organised and led by captain Pete Waudby with Ash Anker and Sam Noble, in particular, put in some crunching tackles as they started to use their backs and fly-half Conall Mason was called upon to put in a try-saving tackle after 11 minutes of play.
However, it was the Spalding backs with centre Gav Sharman and left wing Callam Lewis combining to create space for full back Jack Patrick to side-step his way over the try line and with Mason converting Spalding had a seven point lead.
It did not take the visitors too long to respond as they attacked through their backs to score out wide by the corner flag.
Dunstablians kept pressing and encamped themselves deep in Spaldings’s 22 and Ben Shields held the ball up with another try-saving tackle.
Pressure was telling and captain Waudby, having been warned by the referee that the penalty count was becoming unacceptable, conceded a penalty himself and was shown a yellow card.
Noble moved up to the front row and centre George Brown slotted into the back row to keep the scrum competitive and Spalding were able to hang on until the half time whistle with a man short.
Within minutes of the restart Dunstablians took the lead with a converted try and Spalding responded with Harry Brown coming off the bench replacing Tom Parker.
But penalties conceded were still hurting Spalding with a simple kick in front of the posts and the visitors had eased to an eight point lead.
Alan Charvicius replaced Ash Anker and the game became end-to-end but the visitors still had the edge, especially gaining huge territory from conceded penalties by Spalding and they capitalised with a converted try again out wide.
Spalding responded with another good flowing move down the left started by Mason with Gav Sharman and Callum Lewis showing their speed and determination and forward Harry Brown finished with a powerful run from nearly the 22, reducing the visitors lead to 10 points.
A fightback could have been on the cards but again Dunstablians, with confident handling, responded, killing off hope for Spalding by scoring in the left corner for a 15-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.
Spalding’s team spirit resulted in them battling back upfield and pressure resulted in a penalty awarded to them 10 yards from the try line.
A quick tap penalty saw centre George Brown taking a pass at speed, break through Dunstablians tackles and was over for a worthy try converted by Mason to end the scoring for the game.
After the game the Dunstablians president commented that he could not understand why Spalding were lying near bottom of the league after such a tough game but, what killed the hosts, was nearly 20 penalties conceded during the game.
The second team game was also a win for the visitors with Dunstablians triumphing 42-31 with Spalding staging a comeback in the second but they could not overcome a big deficit from the opening period.
Spalding: Pete Waudby, Miguel Da Silva, Tom Parker, Jordan Templer, Ash Piccaver, Ash Anker, Harry Cole, Sam Noble, Will Shields, Conall Mason, Callum Lewis, George Brown, Gav Sharman, Ben Shields, Jack Patrick. Subs: Alan Charvicus, Harry Brown, Adam Lewis.