TRY: Gav Sharman. Photo by ADRIAN SMITH

Bedford Queens beating sends Spalding RFC into the bottom three

Bedford Queens RFC 24
Spalding RFC 5

Spalding RFC slipped into the bottom three of Midlands Three East (South) after going down 24-5 at Bedford Queens on Saturday.

Once again depleted by injuries, Town had a few chances to open up a lead in the first half but were soundly beaten by the rejuvenated hosts in the end.

Despite the atrocious wet weather, the pitch was in decent condition for a clash between two teams that hadn’t enjoyed strong starts to their respective seasons.

With a host of regulars missing, the Elephants recalled Kev Hudson to the front row and brought in Ed Williams at lock, meaning Ben Shields could play in his preferred role at scrum-half and Reece Calaby went to outside centre.

Queens, on the other hand, were fielding perhaps their strongest team of the season.

With a big pack of forwards, it was fairly obvious from the off that the home would be looking towards their pack to gain advantage.

With fliers like Gav Sharman and Callum Lewis on the wings and the attacking qualities of Conall Mason at full-back, Spalding should have been looking to get the ball out wide, away from the forward battle.

The opening quarter of an hour saw both teams getting used to the conditions and with the inevitable handling errors, scrums featured heavily.

But it was Queens who opened the scoring after their forwards gained field position and the ball was passed out to their right winger to score in the corner.

Town’s response was swift with their forwards gaining territory and from a ruck the ball passed swiftly out to Sharman who rounded his opposite number with his pace for an unconverted try.

This score lifted the players as they edged on top but wasted a couple of golden chances to score with the try line in sight.

Ben Shields received a nasty gash to his forehead and was replaced by Harry Exley, who settled into the role straight away.

With only a couple of minutes remaining of the first half, Queens broke through Town’s defence after a missed tackle by the backs.

With the try converted the home team had edged ahead.

Directly from the kick off, the Elephants pressed Queens deep in their half.

A home forward was then yellow carded as they defended their line, but the advantage was lost and the half time whistle soon sounded.

The second half was a story of domination by the Queens pack, both at the lineout and at the scrums – with their number eight controlling the game setting up either a series of mauls or rucks.

Spalding were caught offside and a kick to touch, a lineout win and a driving maul saw the home lead increase.

The game was crying out for Spalding to move the ball along the backs to give their wingers an opportunity to run, but their ability to manage their own game seemed to fall apart.

Ash Anker, already carrying an injury, was substituted by Charlie Johnson slotting into the backs with Calaby moving to flanker.

Queens’ forwards continued to make inroads with their pick and drive and rolling mauls from lineouts –and it was no surprise when one of their locks burst forward and dived over the line.

For the last 20 minutes of play the home side continued to keep the ball within their forwards whilst Spalding failed to regain any of their first half momentum.

Town’s next league game is at home against Rushden and Higham on November 9.

Before then, Spalding make the trip to Kesteven in the NLD Cup on Thursday (7.45pm).

Spalding RFC: Kev Hudson, John Barrett, Luke Turner, Conor Lilburn, Ed Williams, Harry Cole, Jason Steels, Ash Anker, Ben Shields, Willis Ingleby, Gav Sharman, Dan Adams, Reece Calaby, Callum Lewis, Conall Mason. Subs: Harry Exley, Charlie Johnson

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