Spalding Rugby Club draw with Long Buckby in Counties 1 Midlands East (South)
A disappointing display saw Spalding held to a home draw by bottom of the table Long Buckby on Saturday.
The spoils were shared after a 14-14 draw in Counties 1 Midlands East (South) after a busy day of action at Centenary Park.
The visitors arrived by coach with their first and second teams while Lincolnshire Police were also in attendance to play Spalding Vets as an enthralling afternoon of rugby awaited spectators.
Earlier in the season Spalding's first team had won 33-17 at Long Buckby with the visitors now firmly rooted to the bottom of the table with just the one win while Spalding are seventh.
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 were encamped within Spalding's 22 and used a grubber kick to split home 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 a number of times.
The visitors extended their lead after the 14 minutes 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.
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 visitors' lead had been cut to seven points as the referee blew for half-time.
Within two minutes of the second half starting, Spalding number eight Jack Grundy found room to drive over the try line and, with another good conversion, the score was 14-14 with 38 minutes left for the hosts to secure a win.
However, Spalding's second half performance was a big let down as, despite playing with a slight wind advantage and in front of a good home crowd, 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 but, with a two-on-one advantage with the try line beckoning through a pass out to winger Christie, the ball unfortunately straight into the hands of Buckby's last defender.
Additionally in the last ten minutes as Spalding endeavored to grab a win they had two penalty kicks to touch for lineouts.
However, either communication with hooker Tom Rollinson broke down or the lifters for Jordan Templer towards the back were on another planet, as possession was lost and Buckby were able to clear.
The visitors then had two penalty kicks attempts at goal as the tension mounted but both failed.
Spalding were awarded a kickable penalty in the last minute. 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 lineouts while, in the backs, Spalding rarely crossed the gain line, lacking penetration, as they attempted too many through long balls out to the wings with minimal reward.
Spalding: 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.
Both the Seconds and the Veterans sides were showing the first team how to score on the other pitches.
The Seconds won 55-19 in a free flowing game with scorers being 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 Asplen.
The Vets equally had a very good win against a spirited Lincolnshire Police team winning 53-5 with scrum half Richard Cooke showing he still 'has it' with an outstanding display.