SCUNTHORPE RFC 54
SPALDING RFC 19
Spalding RFC’s stellar season ended with a heavy defeat to higher-graded Scunthorpe in the Lincolnshire Cup final on Monday – but captain Harry Sharman declared himself proud of the team’s efforts.
Town, promoted to Midlands One East last weekend, were without no less than eight regulars for the Kesteven clash with their county rivals.
They found themselves 40-0 down at half time and were staring down the barrel of an embarrassing beating, but bounced back to win the second half and end their campaign on a positive note.
Skipper Sharman said: “We had a bit of a club side out, with players from the seconds and thirds getting a game. But it was always going to be tough against their first team.
“We were on a bit of a hiding to nothing if I’m honest, but I couldn’t be prouder of the lads.
“A few of the younger guys gained some vital experience in a big game and that’ll stand them in good stead for the future.
“It was always going to be a bonus game. If we won, great, but if not, we had already achieved our aims.
“Our season came down to last week’s play-off and we achieved our main goal of promotion then.”
Scunthorpe play their rugby two leagues higher than Spalding – and the difference was very evident as the two sides came together for their final match of the season.
Although Town were without eight of their regular first team players who were unavailable this week, they were able to call on some very willing although less powerful fringe players from the junior teams below them.
Spalding kicked off playing into the strong wind and gained possession in the Scunthorpe 22 metre area but were unable to make further headway before being stopped.
Spalding were awarded a penalty and James West found touch some 30 metres from the Scunthorpe try line. Spalding won the lineout but lost the ball in the following play, enabling Scunthorpe the opportunity to run the ball into their opponents’ half.
The left winger cut inside and opened up the Spalding defence before going over to score just left of the posts. The try was converted and after ten minutes the north Lincolnshire side had a seven point lead.
This became somewhat of a pattern in the first half. Seven minutes later a similar move resulted in another score for Scunthorpe and the try was converted making in 14-0 in their favour.
In between scores Kevin Childs made strong runs in the centre, but he was unable to get great penetration. Another six minutes had passed before the score had increased to 21-0.
Scunthorpe were being made to work hard for their points but in the end, on the majority of occasions they attacked in the first half they scored. Three more scores came before half time of which two were converted to take the total to 40-0.
With the wind in their favour in the second half, Spalding were able to make some progress. In fact overall they scored more points in the second half than the opposition.
Dan Cooper broke through the opposition defence and was within five metres of the line before being stopped. Scunthorpe cleared to touch and Spalding won the lineout and drove for the line with Josh Finch going over to score his side’s first points – although West’s conversion missed.
A converted Scunthorpe try extended their lead, but Spalding replied when Sharman made ground before passing to winger Ollie Phillips, who ran 60 metres to touchdown near the posts. West duly converted.
Another Town try followed when Wes Cope broke through the centre before feeding Childs, who kicked ahead leaving Phillips the opportunity to chase the ball.
The Scunthorpe full back won the race to touchdown, but miskicked the ball into the hands of Spalding second row forward Tim Waltham – who went over for his first senior try. West converted.
Scunthorpe added a late converted try, but Town had already salvaged some pride.
Spalding are now looking forward to their end of season bash on Friday, May 16 before returning for pre-season in late June.