DEPLETED: Spalding RFC were crippled by selection problems. Photo by ADRIAN SMITH

Spalding RFC show great heart despite city mauling

Old Northamptonians 95
Spalding RFC 0

Injuries, illness and unavailability ensured that Spalding travelled to Northampton with a heavily depleted squad on Saturday – so it was no surprise to see them handed a heavy reverse by one of Midlands One East’s top teams.

Spalding, rock bottom of Midlands One East, gave game time to a number of second team players as they slipped to a tenth loss from as many league games this term.

Straight  from the kick off Old Northamptonians were on the front foot with their speed to the breakdown areas and the three-quarters showing glimpses of their handling and support play, which would become a feature of the match.

But it was Spalding who set up the first driving maul and the visitors’ forwards took heart. However, on five minutes ON’s lock forward broke through a Town tackle and scored in the corner.

Five minutes later it was ON’s other lock forward who demonstrated speed and strength to touch down – and soon after all the home team’s forwards drove the Spalding pack for a pushover try.

There was then another injury blow as full back Ben Hoyles, returning from injury, had to retire after 20 minutes with Charlie Seconde coming off the bench.

Spalding’s forwards were generally holding their own in the scrum, allowing Harry Brown – playing number eight – to pick the ball with either Will Shields at scrum half or Dan Mackie at fly-half supporting.

Another positive feature of Spalding’s play was their defensive line speed. They cut down ON’s attacking options, but as the tackles kept going in the hosts always seemed to have a support runner for an offload or they secured their ruck to set up another attacking option lead by their excellent scrum half.

To relieve pressure, Mackie was kicking to touch to gain territory. However ON demonstrated their superior lineout ability winning all their own ball and immediately coming back on the attack.

Prop Jacob Hutson took a knock and was replaced by John Barrett – and by half time Town were 53-0 down.

With the slope in ON’s favour in the second half there was the potential for Spalding to be on a hiding to nothing, but they tackled out of their skins and their defensive shape was better than in many of their recent matches.

Tim Waltham, who was having an excellent game, was leading the lineout jumping. But by now, ON’s had worked out Spalding ploys and added four more tries in the first 20 minutes.

However, Spalding’s team spirit could clearly be seen in the last 20 minutes. On a rare attack, Ed Booth out sprinted the initial ON’s defence and was finally caught metres away from the try line.

Town were also starting to string together some passing moves and the defensive line was still working, cutting down ON’s attacking options right up to the dying moments of the match.

Although the final score was 95-0, Spalding showed great heart in keeping going against an excellent team.

Spalding RFC: Ryan Chappell (captain), Pete Waudby, Josh Caley, Jacob Hutson, Tim Waltham, Brian Browne, Adam Beshizza, Dave Maclaren, Harry Brown, Will Shields, Dan Mackie, Ed Booth, Kieran Lake, Will Moore, Ben Hoyles, Charlie Seconde, John Barrett and Gareth Osborne.

Saturday’s results

Midlands One East: Ilkeston 23 Huntingdon; ; Mansfield 0 Bugbrooke 43; Market Rasen & Louth 36 Belgrave 7; Newark 5 Bedford Athletic 25; Old Northamptonians 95 Spalding 0; Paviors 5 Syston 44.

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