RUGBY: Spalding go up after storming comeback

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SPALDING surged to a second successive promotion as they obliterated Old Laurentians in a crunch play-off to book their place in Midlands League Division One next year.

SPALDING surged to a second successive promotion as they obliterated Old Laurentians in a crunch play-off to book their place in Midlands League Division One next year.SPALDING surged to a second successive promotion as they obliterated Old Laurentians in a crunch play-off to book their place in Midlands League Division One next year.

And they had to record a 32-10 win on one of their most famous days the hard way as they were without three unavailable key men and injured captain Alex Wilcox.

But they produced a rousing performance against the Rugby-based Midlands 2 West runners-up to step up another grade and confirm their status as the area's number one rugby club.

Wim Jonker's thunderous penalty into the wind put Spalding ahead, but the advantage was short-lived as Laurentians' Mark Palmer managed to land a penalty from near the posts just after missing another kick.

And the hosts soon had their noses in front after a slick passing move enabled Dave Longrigg to cross the line in the right corner. Palmer added another two points to stretch the lead.

But it was downhill all the way from there as Spalding produced a fabulous, power-packed performance to come from behind in storming fashion.

Jonker was wayward with a couple more penalty attempts and Ian Sheppard's drop goal missed by a matter of inches before the Spalding score finally came.

Centre Anthony Elwine burst through the pack and Jo van den Berg charged over and within minutes Elwine had added another score when he sped into the corner to touch down and get Spalding's noses back in front.

After the break Laurentians squandered a series of kickable penalties (one rebounded back of an upright) to claw their way back into the game and were made to pay by a quickfire three-try salvo from Spalding.

Matt Skinner hopped over after taking the ball from the base of a scrum; van den Berg collected his second try with a powerful run after an incisive Paul Pearson pass and evergreen Paddy Wheeler notched the final try with a trademark dash under the posts.

>> BOROUGH Colts lost their big East Midlands Referee's Cup Final in Northampton at the weekend by just four points.

The Colts were beaten 31-27 by Old Northamptonians - the same side that knocked them out of the National Colts Cup earlier in the year.

Borough were without their first choice three-quarter line with Richard Davison injured and Tom Glavina and Rory McIntyre backpacking across Australia.

The city side had the wind at their backs in the first half, but knew they had a mountain to climb after coming in at the break 12-8 down.

Two quick tries from Old Northamptonians added to their woes, although Borough showed bags of resolve and spirit to battle back from 31-15 down in the final few minutes.

The Borough tries came from Steve Farnell, Chris Sheldon and Luke Richardson (2).

Aaron Baker weighed in with a penalty and two conversions.

>> MARCH Braza reclaimed the Flying Bear Trophy by beating Felixstowe 23-12 in their annual end-of-season fun game.

Number eight Chris Litchfield got the only March try of an entertaining first half, but two from the visitors gave them the edge.

But March roared back after the break and tries from Shaun Taylor and Mark Pope, plus an Andy Larham penalty, enabled them to break Felixstowe's brave resistance.

March are holding their annual dinner on Friday, May 10 at the Braza Club.

Tickets are available from the club or by calling Sam Litchfield on 01354 680011.

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