Spalding Rugby Club are beaten by Market Bosworth
Spalding gave a good account of themselves despite defeat at Counties 1 Midlands East (South) leaders Market Bosworth on Saturday.
The Elephants were beaten 46-17 despite a battling display against a powerful and well-drilled home team.
They had made the trip to Leicestershire expecting a challenging afternoon against a Bosworth side who had only lost one league game all season.
The opening minutes of the match set the tone with Bosworth having a scrum 20 metres out and immediately pushing Spalding back 10 metres.
This put the whole of Spalding's defence on the back foot and the home team were over the try line on the left wing. With a good conversion, Bosworth were up by seven points after two minutes.
One of Spalding's surprising strengths of the season has been a solid scrum but the size, power and athleticism of the Bosworth forwards would be a telling factor throughout the afternoon.
Spalding's shape in defence was good but Bosworth also had confidence to run the ball in open play.
Centres Taylor Crowson and Conall Mason, along with Spalding's back row of Will Shields, Reece Callaby and young Jack Grundy, were all going to have an outstanding afternoon with their determination in the tackle.
However, Bosworth's number three front row towered over everybody, weighing in more than 20 stone and he forced his way over the try line.
The line-out was a strength for Spalding with George Douglas securing good ball along with Shields and it was Grundy at the back of the line-out breaking free to score near the posts for Mason to convert.
However, it was proving a mighty challenge to stop Bosworth in front of a good home crowd and further tries were chalked up in the 17th and 19th minutes for a 15-point lead.
Spalding edged themselves back into the game as a penalty against Bosworth for an offence at the breakdown saw the kick sail between the posts.
Next up, a further penalty given away at the breakdown by Bosworth, saw a kick to the touchline for a line-out.
With possession, Spalding forwards Luke Turner and Macaulay Crane were prominent with a series of pick-and-goes and they were 10 metres off the try line.
Fly half Willis Ingleby dinked the ball over Bosworth's defensive line into the in-goal area and Mason executed a brilliant touch down and, with him converting, Spalding had 17 points on the scoreboard.
However, either side of half-time killed off any chance Spalding had of springing a surprise.
A Bosworth scrum five metres out from the try line saw their forwards dominate, push Spalding's pack backwards and then in the opening minutes of the second half a fluid move along the backs saw Bosworth's right wing score for a 17-point lead.
Spalding continued to battle hard but were on the back foot for most of the second half with full-back Ryan Firth making good clearance kicks under pressure.
A penalty kick to Spalding just fell short of the crossbar and determined defending saw the visitors holding up the ball over their try line for a drop out kick.
However, Bosworth were relentless in attack with their backs enjoying their possession and a further two tries were conceded despite Spalding's tackle count being huge.
The defeat leaves Spalding in sixth spot ahead of Saturday's home match at Centenary Park against fifth-placed Vipers.
Spalding: Tom Parker, Sam Cowell, Luke Turner, George Douglas, Macaulay Crane, Reece Callaby, Will Shields, Jack Grundy, Adam Sutclife, Willis Ingleby, Gav Sharman, Conall Mason Taylor Crowson, Ben Shields, Ryan Firth. Subs: Ryan Medlock, Callum Ferguson, George Brown.