SPALDING RFC: Town pay the penalty in another late loss

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Spalding RFC 19 Derby RFC 21: FOR the second week on the bounce Town were made to pay by a late, late error.

After failing with a crucial conversion in the dying seconds last weekend, Derby snatched an unlikely victory on Saturday with a last-gasp penalty.

Spalding had led 19-13 with 20 minutes to go at the Memorial Field and only have themselves to blame for their tenth Midlands One East defeat of the season.

The result was particularly galling for Ollie Phillips, who scored a superb hat-trick.

Having lost the toss, Spalding kicked off in the first meeting between these two sides in six years, writes GEOF NICHOLS.

Town started well, pushing Derby back and winning an early penalty, which they unfortunately missed.

Derby cleared their lines and play continued, but Spalding were again breaking out from deep.

Skipper Harry Sharman broke from the base of a scrum and neat inter play by Rob Lucas and Ben Williamson took play forward only to be stopped by the referee for crossing.

But it was the away side who opened the scoring. They pressured the home defence and won a penalty, which was fired home from 30 yards.

Derby were reduced to 14 players after one of their team received a yellow card from a referee who was beginning to lose his patience with players from both teams.

However, as the half time break approached Spalding were penalised and the visitors kicked for touch within five metres of the Spalding line.

Their forwards won the lineout and drove for the line to score the first try of the game in the corner. With the conversion attempt missing, Derby led 8-0 at the break.

It was a different story in the second period though and Spalding quickly made their mark.

Adam McHugh chipped ahead over the approaching Derby three-quarters leaving winger Phillips to use his speed and touchdown. The conversion missed.

This triggered a scoring spree, with Derby extending their lead soon after with a score in the left corner - but again, the conversion was unsuccessful.

Spalding hit back two minutes later. From a scrum on the halfway line they wheeled and broke from the back, led by Sharman.

Again it was a long pass to the speedy Phillips, who outpaced the opposition to go over in the corner. He converted his own score to make it 13-12 in Derby’s favour.

Within five minutes one of the most absurd moves of the match preceded the next score.

It was Spalding’s turn to lose a player to the sin bin. But for some reason their depleted scrum near the Spalding 22 metre line took the ball against the head, with back row player Andy Hoyles breaking and, supported by Sharman and Phil Taylor, they cleared the visitors defence and passed to winger Phillips to run in unopposed under the posts to seal a treble.

He again converted to put Town 19-13 up, but more drama was to follow.

With Spalding reduced to 13 men, an unconverted Derby try from a lineout took them within a point of the home side.

Then, with Town back to their full compliment, a scrummaging infringement allowed Derby to kick a penalty and steal the points with the final minute of the game.

Spalding RFC: Harry Sharman (captain), Peter Shakespeare, Craig Dowse, Andy Branton, Ed Duerden, Mark Haighton, Tom Duerden, Andy Hoyles, Rob Lucas, Tom Smith, Ben Williamson, Adam McHugh, Ollie Phillips, Ben Hoyles, Peter Waudby, Dave Hankinson, Sean Bell.

• Sat - Kettering v Town (2.15pm).