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Spartans 2nd - Match centre

Spartans 2
Barkers Butts Tanners
Sat 22 Apr 15:00 - Warwickshire League - League Two Full time

Game of two halves as Spartans secure a second place finish.

With a good crowd enjoying the Coppice Lane sunshine Spartans hosted Barker Butts in a second place showdown, one of the few teams who have beaten the Second XV in their Warwickshire League 2 campaign.

With a good crowd enjoying the Coppice Lane sunshine Spartans hosted Barker Butts in a second place showdown, one of the few teams who have beaten the Second XV in their Warwickshire League 2 campaign.

With a mass of players available skipper Ben Dockery was able to pick a very strong second team despite late first team call ups for Dale Jones, Cam Holland and Jamie Humpage.

Harry Owen, Sam Burke and Martin Bowden started in the front row with Tim Barthram and Tom Cookman in the engine room and a familiar back row of Will Sanders, Spencer Kite and Matthieu Gassey.

The back line was also fairly familiar, Andy Harrison and Joe Madden lined up in the half back positions with a midfield of Luke Spears and Dockery and a back three of Jack Hughes, Daryl Williams and Brett Garbett.

Replacements included Ryan Devine, Luke Rostron, Justin Remy, Micky Thompson, Chris Vaughan and newcomer Sam Friend.

Spartans kicked the game off attacking up the hill and early carries from Kite and Gassey suggested Spartans would have the rub of things in attack, it must be said that this led to a touch of complacency as The Twos consistently tried to force the ball wide too early, resulting in little gain line success, much to the frustration of the pack who, for the first time this season, were on the back foot against the huge visiting pack.

Where the scrum was struggling the lineout was exceptional, Burkes throwing and the expert jumping of Cookman was giving a nice platform for Madden to utilise some of the moves that had been worked in training this week. Williams, Garbett and Hughes in particular were having great success in the wide channels and were industrious both in attack and defence.

There was a familiar theme beginning to appear as three or four times Spartans were let down by either the last pass or indiscipline, with knock ons and breakdown infringements gifting possession back to Barkers several times. Where Barkers did attack though the home defence was strong. Their prime threat at inside centre was twice knocked backwards by the black defensive wall.

Despite prolonged territory and possession the best Spartans had mustered was a dubiously disallowed try and a missed penalty attempt until the last play of the half. A penalty on the centre spot was tapped by Madden who saw the opportunity for a quick play, he broke the line and found Barthram in support. His carry and the resulting breakdown saw the attack move down the narrow channel where Dockery, Garbett and Hughes combined to great effect to push within 5 metres of the elusive try line. Just as it looked like the attack would end Hughes managed to smuggle the ball out and pop to the supporting Kite who burst over for a stunning try. The wide conversion was good and Spartans took a hard earned 7 point lead into half time.

The second half was a completely different story, the heavyweight Barkers pack began to tire and the scrum eased up, the ball handling tightened up and the discipline came back.

5 minutes into the half Spartans were camped in the far 22 and were threatening. Big carries from Bowden and Sanders gave Andy Harrison chance to dart over from close range for a typical scrum half try.

A further five minutes had elapsed when a kick down field from Madden was fumbled giving Spartans a scrum in midfield. A blind move sent Gassey charging down the right creating space in the centre channels. Screaming for the ball, Madden was hit by Harrison with a lovely long pass before finding Sanders on a sublime line for him to sprint in from 30m for a great score.

The next score came from fly half Madden but was created by a huge hit in centre field from Sam Friend, who had joined the action for his Spartans debut, causing his opposite number to knock on. Kite seized the opportunity and stormed down the field with the ball before a cheeky back handed offload allowed Madden to touch down from 20m.

Friend continued to impress with a brace of tries in the next ten minutes, both coming from slick back play and the use of dummy runners. His pace and strength saw him touch down in each corner for a fantastic debut game.

With Barkers becoming demoralised and fatigued there was space opening up all over the pitch, Jack Hughes was the next to take advantage with a hugely deserved try. Although small in stature he demonstrated superb strength to rib the ball clean from the hands of the attacking forward before burning off 70m for a great try to cap a superb performance.

The penultimate try came from Cookman who took a great lineout ball to see the opposition forwards split like the Red Sea, he stormed down the pitch like a rampant giraffe and touched down under the posts after beating the last defender.

Final play and the final score of the match was a fitting one for the captain. Slick back play again saw Dockery burst through the defensive line but with lots still to do he jinked left, right, up and down to finally dive over under the sticks for a worldie of a try. Madden chipped over to make it 9 conversions from 9 as the referee blew for full time.

A tough first forty no doubt but as Barkers pack began to fatigue Spartan fitness came through to close out the league season with a stunning 63-0 win to secure second place in Warwickshire Division 2, just rewards for a superb season for this young second team.

Man of the match could have gone to any number of players; Cookman, Bowden, Kite and Barthram were all superb in the pack aswell as the stunning attacking play from the backs in the second 40 but it was Jack Hughes who won the POG award for a superb performance in both attack and defence, clocking up over 200 running metres and a try.

Final score Spartans 63-0 Barker Butts

Friend x 2

Madden x 9

It’s our final Kids First Champion for the season! David ‘Flats’ Flatman and two special guests surprise Ellingham & Ringwood RFC.

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other League Two results

Old Coventrians Archers
Pinley 2


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Newbold on Avon 3 17 62
2. Spartans 2 17 52
3. Old Leamingtonians 2 17 50
4. Barkers Butts Tanners 18 47
5. Berkswell & Balsall 2 17 40
6. Broadstreet "social" 15 37
7. Old Coventrians Archers 16 32

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