Spalding RFC 70 Bakewell Mannerians 13
World Cup winner Richard Hill proved to be an inspiration for Town as they completed their Midlands Two East (N) campaign with a whopping win.
The former England international put Spalding through their paces prior to the Memorial Field clash with Bakewell on Saturday, on a day when they ran in a huge 12 tries.
Skipper Harry Sharman and key man Wes Cope both touched down hat-tricks, while Ed Duerden (2), Andy Hoyles, Tom Duerden, Ryan Chappell and Harry Harrison also crossed the line.
The sizzling showing cemented second spot for Town, who will now host Midlands Two East (S) runners-up Newbold on Avon in a winner-takes all promotion play-off on April 26.
Spalding started superbly with Harry Brown linking well with his brother George, who avoided a number of tackles before slipping the ball to Tom Duerden to score the first try. James West’s conversion failed.
From the restart Sharman again broke clear and took play up to within a few metres of the try line before passing to second row player Andy Hoyles to touch down. Again, the conversion failed.
Town poured forward again from the restart, with all of the team playing their part before Sharman crossed over. Although West missed his kick again, it was 15-0 after only 12 minutes.
A quickly-taken penalty saw Bakewell register their first try (unconverted), but Spalding stormed back with Tom Duerden feeding his brother Ed for their fourth try of the day. The talented Cope then used his speed and determination to touch down just wide of the posts, leaving a simpler conversion for West to take the score to 27-5.
Points kept on coming for the hosts, with Sharman next to score. Spalding won a Bakewell lineout and drove for the line, with the skipper the man to go over. West again converted.
Although Bakewell kicked a penalty soon after, Town had the final word of the first half when centre Chappell collected the ball on the half way line and went on a weaving run before scoring close to the posts – leaving West a simple conversion.
The scores kept on coming after the break, with George Brown breaking through tackles before passing to Sharman, who tossed a beautiful looping pass for winger Harry Harrison to score wide out. West converted. Cope was the next man to score after a drive, but West was unable to add the extra points.
It wasn’t long before the home side notched again. A knock on by Spalding gave the visitors a scrum, but they won the ball back and wheeled the scrum before Sharman broke off with the ball and scored his third try.
Five minutes passed before Town were in a similar position. Again the scrum was wheeled and Sharman broke at the back, but this time he linked with Ed Duerden to score his second try. West’s conversion missed, but the score moved on to 63-8.
An unconverted Bakewell try then reduced the home advantage a little, but Spalding weren’t quite done.
They won the ball 15 metres out from the line and drove forward, with the ever present Sharman eventually slipping a pass to Cope, who completed his treble.
West converted to bring up an impressive 70 points for the Midlands Two East (N) runners-up, who close on 93 points after registering a 19th win from 22 games.
The wonderful win leaves Town in a buoyant mood ahead of their crunch play-off clash on Saturday week.
Spalding RFC: Harry Sharman (captain), Pete Waudby, Wes Cope, Alex Ioannou, Tom Duerden, Andy Hoyles, Ed Duerden, Harry Brown, Will Shields, James West, Hamish Munro, Ryan Chappell, George Brown, Harry Harrison, Adam McHugh, Sam Cooke, Josh Finch and Ed Booth.