A game against regular foes Northolt was next up for Spartans and this was likely to be a much tighter affair. And so it proved but according to the crowd on the touchline it was a game played with no shortage of skill and intensity by both teams, a testament to quality of players on show.
Spartans warmed up with their customary initial apathy before Coach Chocs and excitable fan Adrian made clear that such an approach wouldn’t cut it against Northolt. Game faces were firmly set and fingers were extracted from backsides just in time for the kick off… Or so we thought…
In a mirror of Spartans’ previous game against Ealing one team was under pressure from the off, unfortunately it was us. Northolt were using their forward pod system to good effect but some last ditch defending kept the blue horde out initially.
But such pressure was always like to yield points and they duly arrived with the Northolt prop barrelling his way over the line to score. Further pressure was to follow as the half progressed and Northolt secured a penalty, which was ably converted by their kicker. Back came Northolt again, securing yet another penalty and a kick at goal… but thankfully it was just outside the kicker’s range and the let off seemed to galvanize Spartans to start putting their structure on the game.
With Callum an ever increasing presence at scrum half and the backs making good ground in midfield, Spartans got themselves back in the match. Securing a solid scrum just outside the Northolt try line, Inchy picked up from the base, drew the defender and put Callum in for the score. Game on!
As the first half wore on, Spartans were becoming ever stronger. The midfield paring of Phil Tait and James Roberts were looking to test Northolt’s defence at every opportunity and full back Giles Gale was tidying up anything kicked his way with aplomb. It was only a matter of time before the 2nd Spartans try came and Taity got himself on the score sheet, converting his try to push Spartans into a 12-10 lead.
The first half was drawing to a close with Spartans very much on top and there was time for Callum to bag his second, showing a good turn of pace to take him clear of the covering defence.
So 17-10 at half time, where we spoke about the next score being crucial… But unfortunately after the restart Northolt got themselves back within touching distance to make it 17-15.
Again Spartans took the game by the scruff of the neck. Spartan forwards were driving hard at the Northolt defence and some over eager ruck play saw one of their forwards spend 10 minutes in the bin. He was soon followed by another Northolt player and Spartans went for the jugular. A lineout on Northolt’s 5 metre line was successfully caught by John Beveridge and with Gav Lock securing the ball at the back of the maul, the Spartans pack rumbled over the line to make it 22-15.
The forwards were buzzing now and having successfully secured the restart, we drove into Northolt territory once again. A series of tap penalties stretched the defence and with Guy Baker cutting a wonderful line between the Northolt defenders it was left to James Roberts to crash over the line… 27-15.
There was still time for one last Northolt fight back and while they did manage to breach the Spartans line, thankfully it was the last play of the game and the boys secured a well deserved 27-20 victory.
So 2 out of 2 so far for Spartans, with promising link up play between the forwards and the backs, especially in the 2nd half. No one panicked despite going down 10-0 very early on and we quickly got ourselves out of the arm wrestle that has typified matches against Northolt previously.
Tries: Callum (x2), Taity, Gav Lock, Roberts
Man of the Match:
A toss up between Guy Baker who was everywhere and Peter Kim who tackled like a demon. At the hour of reckoning, Guy’s decision to leave early saw the plaudits (and the pint) handed to PK.
Giles Gale was superb in his first game for Spartans at 15. Brought a cool head to proceedings, especially in that first half.
Callum Godden directing his forwards to secure him clean ball, meaning attacks could be launched that much quicker. Also for his two tries… obvs!
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