SPALDING RFC 16 KETTERING 10: GUTSY Town did their survival hopes the power of good with another sensational Memorial Field success on Saturday.
Harry Sharman’s side proved once again that they are a team for the big occasion, knocking off a Kettering side that have genuine promotion hopes.
Now four points clear of the dreaded bottom three with five games remaining, Spalding are also within striking distance of a clutch of mid-table rivals above them.
Kettering went into the clash second in Midlands One East, some 39 points better off than Town. The odds were stacked against the hosts, but they got the game under way with a strong wind at their backs.
It took 15 minutes for the first points to be registered – with Spalding striking the maiden blow.
After being awarded a penalty, Town kicked deep into the opposition’s 22 metre area.
The ball was won from the lineout and play went across the field to Tom Duerden, who forced his way across the try line. Dave Hankinson’s conversion failed, with the wind wreaking havoc.
Kettering soon responded with a penalty to make it 5-3, but Town slowly started to take command of the game.
After the visitors failed with a drop-goal attempt, a break from Josh McNally saw the away side penalised for offside – allowing Hankinson to knock over a simple penalty.
Town were back on the attack instantly too, with a break taking them to within 15 metres of the try line. A scrum was then awarded, with Kettering again adjudged to be offside – allowing Hankinson to dispatch another penalty.
The big moment of the half was still to come, though. Kev Childs was forced into touch following a speedy run, but from the lineout Jimmy Rowlands emerged with the ball and ploughed through a number of tackles before going over for a try in the corner.
Hankinson’s conversion missed, but Spalding led their illustrious visitors 16-3 at the break.
It took 22 minutes for the second period for Kettering to get back into the game with a converted score – setting up a frantic finale.
In the final moments Kettering kicked to touch in the corner. But from the lineout ten metres out the visitors were ruled to be offside, with Town defending for their lives.
Spalding kicked the resulting ball to touch to clear their lines as the final whistle sounded, bringing jubilation from the team and home supporters.
With another home game to come this weekend, Town will hope to make it four games unbeaten.
Town: Harry Sharman (captain), Ant Buckberry, Jimmy Rowlands, Fraser Walsh, Josh McNally, Tom Duerden, Richie Craig, Ed Duerden, Jim Williams, Dave Hankinson, Kevin Childs, Ryan Chappell, Ben Williamson, Dan Adams, Rob Lucas, Craig Dowse, Harry Brown, Jordan Andrade.
• Sat: Town v Towcestrians (3pm).