TOWCESTRIANS 21 SPALDING RFC 12: TOWN’S poor form in Midlands One East continued on Saturday as they slipped to a fourth league loss on the bounce.
Although they are still some way short of fielding a full strength side, Spalding did welcome back Ollie Phillips to the bench and handed a start to full back Thom Williamson, who made a return appearance on a visit home from Australia.
Both sides started with some expansive play and the ball flowing freely, but it was the home side that crossed the line first.
A throw in by Spalding was adjudged to be not straight and from the resulting scrum Towcestrians won the ball. Their scrum-half drew his man and passed to the winger, who had a clear run through to touch down in the corner. The conversion missed, but the hosts were 5-0 up.
Town’s Dave Hankinson then missed a kickable penalty, before the visitors ran in their opening try of the day.
Williamson gathered the ball deep in his own 22 metre area and launched an attack. He interchanged passes with winger Kevin Childs, before passing inside for the ever present Ash Anker to score at the opposite end.
Again, the conversion missed.
Spalding then wasted a number of scoring opportunities, before they were penalised from a scrum and Towcestrians kicked a routine penalty to put them 8-5 ahead.
More of the same was to follow, as Spalding were again penalised, leaving the home kicker a difficult chance to put his side 11-5 up at the break.
Town upped the ante in the early stages of the second period, with winger George Brown stopped five metres short of the line.
Childs then linked with Williamson on the right side of the pitch. Williamson used his speed and guile to touch down over the line, but the referee disallowed the try – deciding instead to give Spalding a penalty ten metres out.
This decision bewildered the players and supporters alike.
From then on Town lost momentum, as penalties were now coming thick and fast for both sides.
The home team kicked deep into the Spalding half and found touch, before a catch and drive by their forwards powered them over the try line.
That left a simple conversion and took the score to 18-5 with just over ten minutes of the match left.
Moments later it was game over, as a penalty awarded for an adjudged collapsed scrum allowed Towcestrians to go 21-5 up.
There was still time for Hankinson to use his speed and determination to touch down a Spalding try to the right of the posts.
He picked himself up to add to conversion, but it wasn’t enough to add a bonus point.
Town: Sharman (captain), Buckberry, Crane, Branton, Haighton, Hoyles, Asher, E Duerden, Lucas, Hankinson, G Brown, S Williams, Chappell, Childs, T Williamson, Rowlands, Phillips, McHugh.
• Saturday: Spalding v Peterborough.