Spalding 14 Long Buckby 14
Spalding came agonisingly close to a victory despite a poor performance against Long Buckby on Saturday.
Earlier in the season Spalding first team had won 33-17 in the corresponding fixture in Northamptonshire.
The visitors are now firmly rooted to the bottom of Counties 1 Midlands East (South) table with just the one win, whilst Spalding are sitting mid table.
Although captain Luke Turner was not available, Spalding looked to have a strong team on paper with colt Sam Christie starting on the wing after recent impressive performances and newcomer Zokas Raimodas starting at lock.
However from the kick off Buckby looked the more cohesive team with plenty of energy, forcing Spalding onto the back foot and their defence having to stand up to an early battering.
With just six minutes played, Buckby, encamped within Spalding’s 22, used a grubber kick to split Spalding’s defenders to score the first try by the posts and with an easy conversion kick, an early lead had been chalked up.
Scrums throughout the game proved to be unpredictable with Spalding achieving good impetus on occasions, then Buckby turning the tables on Spalding.
With 14 minutes on the clock the visitors extended their lead through their forwards succeeding to drive over for a further converted try and a lead of 14 points.
Finally Spalding woke up, exerting sustained pressure with Buckby valiantly defending their try line, but Spalding’s lack of control when driving for the line from rucks let them down and they conceded a couple of vital penalties.
Ash Anker replaced Miguel Da Silva in the front row and soon afterwards Conall Mason had a penalty kick into the wind for Spalding’s first points of the afternoon but it sailed wide.
However, momentum was with Spalding as the pressure on Buckby’s try line finally resulted in Anker driving over and with a good conversion the visitor’s lead had been cut to seven points as the referee blew for half time.
Within two minutes of the second half Spalding number eight Jack Grundy found room to drive over the try line and with another good conversion the score was 14 points apiece with 38 minutes left for Spalding to secure a win, but they failed to build any momentum.
Full back Ed Booth had one of the best chances when breaking at speed from inside his own half and with a two-on-one advantage and the try line beckoning, he threw a pass intended for winger Sam Christie, only it went straight into the hands of Buckby’s last defender.
Additionally in the last ten minutes, as Spalding endeavoured to grab a win, they had two penalty kicks to touch for line outs and either communication with hooker Tom Rollinson broke down or the lifters for Jordan Templer towards the back were on another planet, but possession was lost and Buckby were able to clear.
The visitors then had two penalty kick attempts at goal as the tension mounted but both failed.
Then, in the last minute, Spalding were awarded a kickable penalty.
Mason stepped forward and from a good long distance the ball sailed towards the goal post, bounced on the crossbar, hit the upright and dropped on the wrong side, with the referee then blowing for full time.
Spalding’s second half display was their poorest performance of the season.
Buckby were stronger in the battle at the break down and had the better in the line outs, whilst in the backs Spalding rarely crossed to gain line, lacking penetration, as they attempted to through long balls out to the wings with minimal reward.
Team: Sam Cowell, Tom Rollinson, Miguel Da Silva, Fergus McKerracher, Raimondas Zodas, Alex Worth, Will Shields, Jack Grundy, Ben Shields, Willis Ingleby, Sam Christie, Conall Mason, Jack Patrick, Gav Sharman, Ed Booth. Subs Ryan Firth, Jordan Templer, Ash Anker.
qMeanwhile, on the other pitches, both the seconds and the vets were showing the first team how to score, with the seconds winning 55-19 in a free flowing game against Long Buckby 2nd XV.
The scorers were Tank Stevenson, Kingston Capes, Jack Asplen, Dan Adams with two tries, Rob Lucas, Harry Bieler-Birch and George Douglas with four conversions from Callum Ferguson and one from Jack Asplen.
The vets equally had a very good win against a spirited Lincolnshire Police team winning by 53-5 with scrum half Richard Cooke showing he still “has it” with an outstanding display.