Spalding unwrap a nine-try Christmas display

One of nine tries scored by Spalding on Saturday. Photo by Tim Wilson
One of nine tries scored by Spalding on Saturday. Photo by Tim Wilson
  • Midlands Two East (North) - Spalding 57 Bakewell Mannerians 8
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Harry Harrison ran in four tries as Spalding sent out a clear message: “Roll on the new year!”

Boosted by their outstanding home win in the previous match against league leaders Stamford, Town easily saw off bottom-of-the-table Bakewell.

The visitors started fairly brightly, using their forwards to carry the ball forward and testing the home defence.

However, this is an area where there has been a big improvement by Spalding in recent weeks.

Gone were the days of missed tackles as centres Sion Williams and George Brown gave a superb display of closing space down.

Six minutes into the game Spalding counter-attacked, spreading the ball wide to Harrison on the left wing.

With space to run in, he left his opposite number for dead and was in under the posts for fly-half James West to easily slot over the conversion.

Ten minutes later it was the turn of right-winger George Douglas to take on Bakewell and after some good work by his forwards, he went over for his try towards the corner flag for an unconverted try.

Bakewell responded quickly and positively. Again using their forwards they drove towards the Spalding line and their lock forward was over.

For the next 20 minutes there was a good contest.

Scrums were fairly even with Harry Brown on occasions required to rescue situations while first-phase possession at the lineout was going Spalding’s way with captain Sam Cooke overcoming the wind, with his throwing in, and Jordan Templer demonstrating how good a lineout jumper he has become.

Bakewell opened the scoring in the second half with a well-taken penalty to closing the lead to just four points.

Harrison tore apart Bakewell’s defence with the first of his three second-half tries, again exploiting the space given to him.

Spalding’s forwards, having battled away, started to get into the act with Brown showing pace and strength to consolidate the lead and guaranteeing a bonus point for the fourth try.

The next try with 18 minutes remaining delighted the large home crowd.

Ash Anker – making a welcome return after a dislocated shoulder kept him out for almost 18 months – had already demonstrated his tackling and breakdown work.

Once again he had secured the ball and with a gap in the visitors’ defence he charged forward, evading a couple of tackles and 20 metres to the line he showed his pace for a converted try.

Next up was a planned scrum move 25 metres out on the left and all the backs were set to go right, apart from Harrison.

Brown from the base of the scrum broke left, feed the ball out to Harrison and with a one on one he waltzed around the tackle for a converted try.

Brown again sliced through Bakewell’s defence which was now having difficulty living with a confident home team – showing speed, determination and organisation, with the confidence to pass and run with the ball.

Having switched to outside centre Harrison was back in the action with just two minutes remaining for his fourth try.

Bakewell’s restart was deep into Spalding’s half with a good follow up.

But from deep in their own half Spalding launched a counter-attack and Josh Broome received the final pass of the match to score under the posts with West converting.

Spalding: Waudby, Cooke, Cowell, Watts, Templer, Anker, Sharman, H Brown, Shields, West, Harrison, Williams, G Brown, Douglas, McHugh. Subs: Moore, Waltham, Broome.