Spalding RFC 17
Spalding RFC kicked off their new season with an impressive 17-10 derby victory over Stamford in the NLD Cup on Saturday.
Connall Mason (2) and Gav Sharman ran in the tries as Town came from behind to win a cracking contest between two sides that are expected to have strong seasons this time around.
Stamford had an outstanding run in their league last season, just missing out on promotion losing their last game – while The Elephants ended up third in their league.
Playing at the New Ground with a solid surface underfoot and a good crowd along the touch lines, Stamford started the brighter with their forwards immediately driving forward setting up a series of rucks – and within two minutes they were over for a deserved early try.
But, with a strong wind affecting kicking, the conversion was missed.
Stamford were having more of the territory and possession but once Town had the ball released to their backs, danger lurked.
Full-back Mason joined in a counter-attack, dummied a pass and cut back inside Stamford’s defence to score nearly under the posts.
With fly-half, Willis Ingleby missing the conversion, the scores were level after seven minutes.
Steadily, Spalding started gaining the upper hand lead, by the forwards and especially the front row of Jacob Greaves, John Barrett and Luke Turner dominating their opposition. They were also carrying the ball effectively, led by Ash Anker and Ash Piccaver.
With quick ball from a ruck just inside Stamford’s half, scrum-half, Will Shields passed to Ingelby whose pop pass found captain Dan Adams crashing through the middle.
With just the full-back to beat, Adams passed to winger Sharman to run in unopposed for Spalding’s second try.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, Town were looking to drive home their advantage.
But, to Stamford’s, credit they started to show more determination and teamwork, retaining possession in their forwards.
Matters were also not helped by the number of penalties given away by Spalding, especially at the breakdown.
With good kicks to touch and with a better lineout, Stamford were having the majority of possession, threatening the home lead.
However, it was Spalding’s backs who secured the win as they counter-attacked down the left wing with Sharman outpacing the defence.
With Stamford’s remaining defender closing in, a good inside pass found the supporting runner Mason, who had a clear run in.
With his successful conversion Spalding had a 12-point lead with 13 minutes remaining and looked to have sealed the match.
With two minutes left Stamford snatched a deserved second try, but it was too late.
Captain Adams said: “Our focus this season will be on the league, but if we have a good cup run we will take it.”
Spalding now have a friendly at Wisbech on Saturday (3pm), before starting their Midlands Three East (South) campaign at Dunstablians on September 14 (3pm).
Spalding RFC: Jacob Greaves, John Barrett, Luke Turner, Jordan Templer, Ash Piccaver, Ash Anker, Ryan Chappell, Harry Sharman, Will Shields, Willis Ingleby, Gav Sharman, Dan Adams, Taylor Crowson, Ed Booth, Connall Mason. Subs: George Brown, Mark Haighton, Ben Shields.