Wait goes on for Spalding’s first league win

Spalding suffered another league defeat
Spalding suffered another league defeat
  • Midlands Two East (North) - Melbourne 31 Spalding 12
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With no league success so far this season, Spalding travelled to Melbourne in the knowledge that the opposition had just one home win so this was an opportunity to kick-start their campaign.

As normal there were changes to the team, mainly in the forwards with Kier Moore in the front row, Sam Cowell moving to the back row and Tom Duerden operating as open side flanker and Mike Watts starting at lock.

In the backs there was a welcome return for Shaun Williams at centre from injury and Rob Lucas in at full back.

Spalding kicked off in damp conditions and Melbourne were very quickly penalised at the breakdown.

Spalding kicked to touch for the lineout 10 metres from the try line but poor throwing in by Sam Cooke resulted in a lost ball and danger cleared by Melbourne.

This was the start of Melbourne generally out-performing Spalding at the lineout during the match – winning their own ball and challenging every time.

The home team were now starting to gain the upper hand but knocked on while threatening Spalding’s try line.

A scrum was awarded to Spalding but after a good push by Melbourne’s forward and the ball was turned over, picked up by their number eight and over for an unconverted try.

The home team now had the upper hand but a penalty for Spalding saw them win their own lineout followed by a successful driving maul and Harry Brown broke away for an unconverted try to level to scores.

Melbourne restored their lead 10 minutes later with a good three-quarter move aided by some missed tackles for an unconverted try.

With five minutes before half-time Spalding delivered the best move of the match with Harry Harrison bursting off his left wing and taking the ball deep into the opposition’s half before tackled.

The ball was retained at the ruck and Watts, making his debut in the first team, used his strength to go over near the corner flag and with an excellent conversion lick by Rob Lucas, Town went into half-time 12-10 ahead.

Coach Ben Williams, came off the bench, initially at scrum half but soon found himself hooking in the scrum.

A feature during the match was the way Spalding were handling their scrum, being under pressure, with the ball being hooked quickly, similar to how Japan played in the World Cup, and Harry Brown at number eight picking up to secure the ball.

However after 15 minutes of the second half with the ball secured at the scrum Brown turned to the blind side and released a pass straight into the hands of the Melbourne flanker who gratefully scored under the posts for a converted try.

Melbourne then pressed their advantage and scored in the corner thanks to a suspect forward pass and a lost ball followed by poor defensive alignment and the home team were in for another try and a 31-12 lead.

Spalding pressed for the last 10 minutes and Kev Childs had two good runs down the wing.

A couple of penalties were also conceded by Melbourne within their 22m area and on both occasions Spalding kicked to touch, only to lose their own lineout ball.

This was another match which Spalding could have won.

Spalding: Moore, Cooke, Barrett, Watts, Heighton, Cowell, Duerden, Brown, Shields, McHugh, Harrison, Williams, Chappell, Childs, Lucas, Steels, Douglas, Williams.