Midlands League 2
This mid-season clash between two teams at the wrong end of the table was set to be a close affair with the reverse fixture only separating the teams by one point.
Kesteven, in the end, came away with a strong victory that leaves them looking up the table rather than worrying about what is below them.
Ks started the stronger of the two teams, putting some good phases together, and strong runs from the forward pack led to Spalding conceding a penalty in the sixth minute that Galloway stroked over.
Sadly, Leo Vincent suffered a nasty leg break minute after a very promising start and was replaced by Pert.
Spalding were, however, highly motivated for this fixture and came back at Kesteven strongly, and some good ball carrying and incisive running from the outside backs put Ks on the back foot.
Eventually, the pressure told with the open side winger finding space on the other side of the field with a nice loop move to beat the defence and score under the posts. This was converted to make the score 7-3 to Spalding.
This initial shock rocked Kesteven only momentarily as they then started building pressure back on Spalding. The home team’s handling error led to a kick and chase with winger Oli Hughes winning the race to the ball to dab down for the first Kesteven try on the 36th minute. Galloway converted to make the half time score 10-7 to Kesteven.
Stokes retired before half time to be replaced by Armstrong, then Goodrich made a welcome return from injury, coming on for Windsor.
The second half would see Kesteven find a third and fourth gear, with Spalding just hanging on to the game.
Errors by Kesteven at the last moment cost them more tries, however in a build-up of pressure, two scores came when centre Tom Miles cut a great line back on inside shoulders and flanker Sam Butler crossed after showing good power from 15m out. Galloway converted both to make the final score 24-7 to Kesteven.
Ks will feel slightly let down that they didn’t convert more chances, but all the same it was a great performance against a local opposition.
Kesteven now focus on Lincoln in the next the first round of the Lincolnshire Cup on Saturday, kick-off 2pm.
Kesteven: Cowley, Sheardown, Purvis, Vincent, Pirie, Stokes, Butler, Turner, Draper, Galloway, Windsor, Dingley, Miles, Hughes, Whittaker. Reps: Pert, Armstrong, Goodrich.
Melton Mowbray 3rd 10
Kesteven 2nd 26
Kesteven fielded a good blend of youth and experience for this return friendly with Melton and started well, keeping the side pinned in their own half.
The pack was under pressure but the backs were very strong. They were keen to move the ball quickly from a tap penalty and Ben Betts found himself out in the clear for a straight run to the posts. Brister added the goal points with a neat drop kick
Melton were stronger in the pack and won scrum and line-out ball but they kept dropping the ball. The Kesteven backs, however, were sharper and good crisp passing put Parker in the clear to go over for the second try. Brister again converted.
Melton had not been in the Kesteven half much but just before the break they capitalised on a couple of defensive errors and opened their account with a try with the last move of the half.
The second half started with Melton trying to gain territory through some long kicks, but full back Will Brewis was secure and was able to run the ball back to good effect. Brister saw yellow with a card for killing the ball but Melton were not able to take advantage; indeed, it was Kesteven who scored next.
Quick play from a short penalty again caught the home defence cold and Parker raced in for his second try.
Melton came back and added a second try before a moment of magic with some great interplay between Jordan and Charles took play close to the Melton line. Hanson went close to scoring but was stopped by an illegal tackle which saw the offender receive a yellow card.
Ks were still keeping the ball alive and now Betts looked to have scored his second but the referee judged that he had dropped the ball over the line. The referee was playing advantage for an earlier infringement and this time Jordan took the quick tap and danced his way over the line.
This was a very enjoyable match between two teams playing in the right spirit. Scuffham and Fuller were effective in the pack, and Jordan, playing in the unaccustomed position of scrum half, gave a lively performance while keeping his back line moving well. Parker enjoyed the freedom of outside centre and he was well supported by Brewis and Peters.
Kesteven: Brewis, Peters, Parker, Betts, Charles, Brister, Jordan, Ward, Scuffham, Mawby, Hanson, Davies, Crowson, Fuller.