RUGBY: Kesteven triumph in tight contest at Woodnook
Midlands League 2
Injuries and non-availability led Kesteven to field a much changed team.
Veterans Martyn Parker, Ian Charles and Rob Windsor took to the field alongside youngster Ben Hall in the back division, while Gavin Purvis James Cowley and Will Pert returned to the pack, with Sam Butler making his debut in the back row.
It was clear early on that it was going to be a tight contest with few chances.
After six minutes, the home team forced Spalding to concede a penalty 35 metres out in front of the posts. Chris Galloway struck the ball with great confidence to open the scoring
The Kesteven pack were getting on top but the Spalding defence held firm. The next score came after 20 minutes when Kesteven drew another penalty out of the Spalding pack. Again Galloway was unerring with the boot.
Spalding did not trouble the home side but were able to keep their line intact. Just when it looked like the first half lead would be restricted to the two penalties, the home forwards produced the goods. Ks won a scrum close to the Spalding line and with great control Dan Turner picked up to crash over almost on the stroke of half time. Galloway converted to make the half time score a respectable 13-0.
Just before the break, Kesteven lost Charlie Pirie with a bad cut under his eye, later requiring 20 stitches. He was replaced by Richard Armstrong.
The second half started with Kesteven taking the game to Spalding. The ball was starting to move through hands better but after five minutes one such handling move broke down on halfway. Spalding hacked through and won the race to the line to score.
Kesteven kept playing rugby and a high tackle on Olly Wood in front of the posts gave Galloway the chance to extend the lead. He did not disappoint.
Vincent came on to replace Pert with 25 minutes left.
Spalding were now finding their range, using the wind well to keep play in the Kesteven 22. They won a lineout five metres out and the pack worked their way up to the line. The referee adjudged Kesteven to have stopped the maul illeagally and awarded a penalty try. Crucially the conversion rebounded off the post.
Kesteven now had 20 minutes to defend. With 15 minutes to go, the task was made harder as Turner was sent to the sin bin for denying Spalding possession.
The home side dug in but could not prevent Spalding adding a third try. Again the conversion failed but the lead was down to a single point.
Spalding kept Kesteven pinned in their 22 but Galloway kept his line intact by clearing.
The last five minutes seemed eternal but at last one final clearance from Galloway brought a final blast on the referee’s whistle to bring the match to an end.
Kesteven: Parker, Hall, Windsor, Wood, Charles, Galloway, Draper, Odams, Sheardown, Purvis, Pert, Cowley, Pirie, Butler, Turner. Reps: Armstrong, Vincent, Sayle.