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Spalding Rugby Club beat Old Laurentians in Counties 1 Midlands East (South)





An outstanding second half performance secured victory for Spalding on Saturday.

The Elephants had failed to make the most of having the strong wind in their favour in the opening half of the Counties 1 Midlands East (South) clash.

But they upped their game after the break to prevent Old Laurentians from scoring as Spalding surged to a 43-7 success.

Sam Christie scores a try for Spalding. Photo: Adrian Smith
Sam Christie scores a try for Spalding. Photo: Adrian Smith

The Rugby visitors had arrived at Centenary Park just one place above Spalding in the league table in the first of back-to-back matches between the two sides.

It was more than two decades since the two teams last met when both were chasing promotion and, in a play-off game, Spalding ran out winners at Laurentians' ground.

The visitors kicked off facing a strong wind and within two minutes they had been pinned back deep in their half after a 50-20 kick by Conall Mason gave Spalding the lineout.

With an excellent take by George Douglas, the forwards rumbled their way towards the try line with Sam Cowell finishing off the drive. A successful conversion by Mason put Spalding ahead by seven points.

Spalding monopolised possession for the next 20 minutes with Laurentians unable to make clearance kicks into the strong wind.

But Spalding were wasteful in possession with passes not going to hand while credit must go to the visitors for their determination to stay in the game.

Action from Spalding's home win over Old Laurentians. Photo: Adrian Smith
Action from Spalding's home win over Old Laurentians. Photo: Adrian Smith

With Spalding threatening again, the ball went loose inside the visitors' 22. The tables were suddenly turned with their first counter-attack down the left wing.

Spalding's defence was exposed and impressively Laurentians were scoring under the posts and the game was level pegging.

However, this was the visitors' only foray into Spalding's territory during the first half as the home team started to settle with carries from Luke Turner, Fergus McKerrancher and Jack Grundy.

Action from Spalding's home win over Old Laurentians. Photo: Adrian Smith
Action from Spalding's home win over Old Laurentians. Photo: Adrian Smith

Confidence was starting to also flow in the backs and a turnover won at the breakdown by Grundy saw inside centre Mason burst through the middle, breaking a couple of tackles and he was over the line. With his conversion, the lead had been regained after 30 minutes of play.

Another score soon followed as fly half Willis Ingleby, with a lateral run, had his pass knocked on. Scrums were going well for the home team and Grundy at the base picked up and forced his way over.

With half-time approaching, Spalding had a Laurentians scrum on retreat and possession won.

Action from Spalding's win over Old Laurentians. Photos: Adrian Smith
Action from Spalding's win over Old Laurentians. Photos: Adrian Smith

Scrum half Jim Wraith played a good pass out to Ingleby and the ball then flowed along the backs to left wing Sam Christie who with scorching pace rounded the defence, giving Spalding a 24-7 lead at half-time.

Spalding fluffed the restart kick for the second half, but their dominant scrum had the visitors pack motoring backwards and a penalty was awarded.

It was now the turn of the forwards to pick and go, retaining possession as the gain field position, and hooker Ask Anker with pace broke several tackles to score by the posts to set the tone for the second half.

Action from Spalding's home win over Old Laurentians. Photo: Adrian Smith
Action from Spalding's home win over Old Laurentians. Photo: Adrian Smith

It saw Spalding playing excellent possession rugby, releasing the backs, as the visitors' defence started to be pulled apart.

Prop Cowell made several penetrating runs and lock Zokas Raimondas was now also making good ground.

The backs, now brimming with confidence, had right wing Ben Shields stopped short of the try line.

Action from Spalding's home win over Old Laurentians. Photo: Adrian Smith
Action from Spalding's home win over Old Laurentians. Photo: Adrian Smith

Full-back Jack Patrick, on one of several runs from deep, then sliced through Laurentians' defence at pace for Spalding’s fifth try.

Before the final whistle, Ingleby threw a dummy pass which opened a gap in the defence and cut back inside to score by the posts. The conversion was successful and Spalding had won a good mid-table battle.

The stand out feature of the game was the domination of Spalding's scrum. On a number of occasions, the visitors' pack was sent backwards at a rate of knots not seen for many years, while the backs capitalised on good possession with flowing moves.

Spalding now make the return trip to face Laurentians this Saturday.

Spalding: Sam Cowell, Ash Anker, Luke Turner, George Douglas, Zokas Raimondas, Fergus McKerracher, Will Shields, Jack Grundy, Jim Wraith, Ben Shields, Conall Mason, Adam Sutcliffe, Sam Christie, Jack Patrick. Subs: Miguel Da Silva, Alex Worth, Taylor Crowson.



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