SPALDING RFC: Third dose of late agony for Town

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TOWN must have smashed a few mirrors this year, as their luck clearly isn’t in.

For the third time in as many weeks they were hit by a last-gasp score to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Leading 8-7 with seconds to play, Tom Bridgeman’s late try secured victory for Kettering on a mud-bath of a pitch.

With the rain bucketing down, Spalding arrived at Kettering to find a saturated pitch, writes PETER JULLIEN.

Thankfully the rain stopped before kick off – and Harry Sharman’s side started the brighter, with possession from a series of driving mauls by the forwards.

Joel Riddle was making an impact around the fringes and Kettering were eventually penalised for not releasing a tackled player. Ollie Phillips kicked the penalty to put the away side ahead.

Spalding were enjoying themselves with Adam McHugh and Ben Hoyles producing some effective running on the flanks. However, they lost Andy Hoyles to a hamstring problem on 25 minutes.

And with the ball proving difficult to handle, the game got bogged down with countless scrums – and on the half-hour applied sustained pressure on the Town try line.

Firstly a score was ruled out for being held up, but from the resulting scrum Kettering applied an effective wheel and their number six Tom Paul drove over for a converted try, making the score 7-3 to the hosts at the break.

Spalding looked sharper at the start of the second period though, with Mark Haighton winning a good line-out ball to take his side deep into opposition territory.

The away side won a penalty an the alert Tom Duerden took a quick tap and run before offloading to McHugh, who went over to give Town an 8-7 lead. Phillips failed to convert.

Kettering responded well and, with their scrum proving very effective, they started to dominate territory.

Spalding were determined to defend their narrow lead though, with Phil Taylor and the rest of the back row tackling everything the hosts could throw at them.

However, with time almost up, Town gave a scrum away having knocked the ball on in contact deep in their half.

Kettering’s scrum secured the ball and applied the pressure. Following a series of pick and drives, inside centre Bridgeman was driven over by the forwards for the winning score.

The Spalding players left the field covered head to toe in mud.

But they can be proud of the determination showed in attempting to defend their lead, with each and every one of the players giving their all for the cause.

Tonight - Sleaford RFC v Spalding RFC (7.45pm); Saturday - Dunstablians v Spalding RFC (2.15pm).