Spalding RFC 10
Huntingdon & District RFC 44
Skipper Harry Sharman bemoaned Spalding RFC’s injury crisis as he watched his side lose for the fourth time in as many Midlands One East matches on Saturday.
The Town captain, himself out with a broken nose, admitted that he was on the phone trying to get a side together on the morning of the defeat to fellow strugglers Huntingdon and District.
With that in mind, he was just happy to see his team-mates compete at the Memorial Field – and praised the effort the depleted Spalding side put in despite seeing them remain bottom of the embryonic league table.
“I don’t want to keep saying the same things,” said Sharman, who expects to be fit in two-three weeks. “Yes, there were a few errors – but I can’t fault the effort.
“There’s no doubting that it has been a difficult start for us, but with the amount of players we have missing it’s not a massive shock.
“Things will get easier, but at the moment our injury list isn’t allowing us to play the brand of rugby that we want.”
Spalding and Huntington entered the bottom of the table clash both winless. From the kick-off on a dry and sunny afternoon, a much-changed Town team took the game to Huntingdon and enjoyed five minutes of fluent play and sustained pressure without reward.
However, turnover ball and some weak Spalding tackling allowed Huntingdon’s number eight James Thorp to go over for a try after 15 minutes.
The visitors added to their try with a second well-worked score after 23 minutes, with winger Johnathan Ward cutting a wonderful inside line and offloading for Ben Strangeways to go over.
The confidence and fluency which Spalding had exhibited at the very start had now been handed to Huntingdon, who enjoyed dominance in the scrum and certainly in the possession stakes.
A very harsh yellow card for Town’s Luke Scotney after 30 minutes and injuries to Adam McHugh and Ben Williams also left the home side facing an uphill struggle.
They did hit back on 35 minutes when a Dan Mackey interception saw a strong crowd cheer him some 60 metres to the line.
But further disruption to the Spalding side and a poorly organised defence allowed Huntingdon’s Thorp to go over again for a simple try, which was converted to leave Spalding trailing 19-5.
More poor tackling and strong Huntingdon running soon extended their advantage to 24-5 as the half-time whistle blew.
It was a similar story early in the second period, as the visitors scored again at the start of the second half from a missed Spalding touch kick, a feature which was to cost them dearly all afternoon.
There was a brief fightback after the referee yellow carded a Huntingdon player for indiscipline in the ruck, which saw Pete Waudby crash over for an unconverted try.
The away side soon rebuilt their lead though, through a simple penalty awarded in front of the posts and a try on the left by Dan Malem.
For much of the second half Spalding had spent too long in their own final third of the field, valiantly defending their line but with the inevitable defensive cracks appearing at regular interludes.
A Seth Mugridge catch and drive over the line just before full time, which was converted, took the final score to 44-10 in favour of visitors.
There were a few postives for Town, with newcomers Scotney, Lance Charity and Dave Mclaren battling hard all afternoon and Harry Brown having a strong game running with the ball.
He was deservedly named Spalding’s man of the match.
Spalding RFC: Alex Ioannou (captain), Pete Waudby, Josh Caley, Ashley Piccaver, David Maclaren, Harry Brown, Luke Scotney, Ben Williams, Will Shields, Dan Mackie, Ed Booth, Ben Hoyles, Kieran Lake, Josh Broome, Adam McHugh, Rob Lucas, Jimmy Rowlands and Lance Charity.