The form book goes out the window in local derbies and Spalding had to dig deep late on to deny bottom of the table Sleaford a much needed win.
An Ash Akar try two minutes from time secured the win for Spalding, breaking the home side’s hearts in what was a must win game for Sleaford.
On an excellent pitch the opening few minutes saw both teams testing each other’s defence with early signs of a strong scrum positive for Spalding.
Fresh from rolling over Rolls Royce in their last outing, it was in open play that Spalding were looking good with Ryan Chappell playing back row showing pace.
As Sleaford’s defence closed in, a kick through, saw Jason Steels following up to score the opening try
Going behind galvanised Sleaford, as they steadily gained an edge in play, with their backs offloading well to support runners.
Also Spalding’s weakness at the lineout, with no specialist jumper, soon became apparent.
Spalding were penalised for holding on in a ruck and Sleaford slotted over the penalty.
Within a minute Sleaford spread the ball wide exposing poor Spalding defence as they ran through to score, and with a successful conversion the home team had rattled up ten quick points.
Sleaford were on a high, pinning Spalding back in their half with their fly half distributing well to their backs especially out wide on their left wing with Fin Peters, called upon to defend well.
With half time approaching Sleaford were awarded a long distance penalty, but the referee walked the penalty on a further 10 metres. The successful kick gave Sleaford an eight point advantage (13-5) but just before half time a high tackle saw a yellow card for one of their centres.
Tom Wilson came on to replace Ed Williams and there was more urgency and purpose by the Spalding team as they started to gain territorial advantage helped by the forwards’ domination in the scrum.
Scrum half Ben Shields was providing good attacking ball for fly half Willis Ingleby and captain Dan Adams was being used very effectively with his crash ball expertise to gain momentum.
It was Ingleby who spotted no cover behind Sleaford’s backs defence and with a grubber kick and pick up he was over for Spalding’s second try. Conall Mason’s conversion cut the home team’s lead to one point.
Although Spalding were pressing with Harry Cole impressing with his carries along with Steels and Chappell, Sleaford were still dangerous on the break and full back Conall saved the day on a couple of occasions with last man tackles.
Spalding lost George Brown for 10 minutes for a late tackle but Spalding were pinning Sleaford back looking to win the game.
When Sleaford attempted to break from defence Spalding’s tackles were decisive yielding numerous knock ons enabling them to relaunch an attack through their powerful scrum. With the minutes ticking away Spalding were encamped on Sleaford’s try line. After a series of rucks and scrums, Ankar forced his way over for Spalding’s third try and a four point lead with two minutes to play.
Spalding failed to secure the restart, conceding possession and a penalty Sleaford kicked to the five metre line for a lineout.
Substitutes Matt Heaton and Harry Sharman were now called upon and a further scrum in Sleaford’s favour was awarded in front of the posts. But a back row move was stopped sealing Spalding’s victory.
Spalding dominated the second half but could not work the ball into space for wingers Gav Sharman and Peters to find the try line.
As the saying goes, “a win is a win”.
Town: Jacob Greaves, John Barrett, Haary Cole, Kev Hudson, Ash Ankar, Ed Williams, Jason Steels, Ryan Chappell, Ben Shields, Willis Ingleby, Gav Sharman, Dan Adams, George Brown, Fin Peters, Matt Heaton, Harry Sharman, Tom Wilson.
* Next game: Tupton (home, Sat March 30, 3pm).
All pictures by Adrian Smith.