Category: Match Report

Spartans 2XV-A’s v Newcastle Ravens 1XV

The Spartans welcomed Newcastle Ravens 1XV to Manchester in a game that brought a tight contest last season.

Both teams started at a frantic space with plenty of tackles and contests at the breakdown and limited space to find the tryline. The Spartans contested well at the breakdown with Matt Proctor an early standout performer as the openside flanker.

The Ravens began to edge their way towards the try line after the first quarter. They won a penalty on the Spartans 5m line and were able to crash over on the second phase to make it 5-0.

After their breakthrough, the Ravens took control of a slippery ball between plays. The forwards recovered the ball at the breakdown and swung it wide to their lock, who broke a tackle and fed the winger who was able to add a second score.

The Spartans were not to be deterred and showed great resilience, particularly at the breakdown. with Christian Davis orchestrating attacks from scrum half, the Spartans were pushing well through the forwards and making quick footwork through the backs. However they were unable to reap the rewards of their pressure.

At the half hour mark, as the Spartans were making grounds towards the Ravens tryline, a Spartans pass was expertly picked off by the Ravens centre who sprinted clear to touch down. The kicker added the conversion to given the Ravens some breathing space at 17-0.

Although the the Ravens continued to push for further tries, the Spartans held their defensive discipline and a wonderful tackle from Rob Bartlett sent the winger into touch and stopped a counter attack.

However, 7 minutes the Ravens centre again picked off an attacking pass from the Spartans and raced clear to bring the score to 22-0.

A Spartans score was needed at this point and they found it through fly half Matt Brown just before half time and the Spartans went into the break on a high.

They kept the momentum going in the second half with another score. A long clearing kick from the Spartans bounced favourably for Sam Bailey who offloaded wonderfully in the tackle to Ian Stodart. Stodart was able to beat his defender and touch down to bring the score to 12-22.

After this, the game was very much played in the middle of the park with the referee blowing for infringements at the breakdown and both sides paying the price for some inconsistent temperament.

The Ravens conserved their lead at the hour mark when they turned the ball over at the breakdown. From there, they were patient enough to see out multiple Spartans tackles and multiple phases before touching down. The score coming to 27-12.

The Spartans flexed their attacking muscle, with replacement number 9 Rory Leventhorpe anchoring the attack and a wonderful partnership from thrower Marc Jones to caller Anthony McCaul at the line-out proved threatening but sadly they were unable to add to their 12 points and the Ravens claimed the spoils.

Back of the match was Ian Stodart
Forward of the match was Matt Proctor

Spartan’s 2XV-B’s v Sheffield Vulcans

The Village Spartan’s 2B’s headed to Sheffield to play the Sheffield Vulcans in the IGR League.

In atrocious conditions, movement up the pitch was short and the ball stayed in hand and in the middle of the park. The two sides were evenly matched.

The opening score came from the Vulcans who broke down the right side through the backs, and the Spartans defended the tryline beautifully for multiple phases before the Vulcans pressure told and were able to score.

Not to be deterred, the Spartans evenly contested the game. With the wind and rain making ball handling so difficult, attacks were forced to go through the forwards. Unfortunately the ball proved too slippery on occasions and the Vulcans were let off.

Towards the end of the first quarter the Vulcan’s took control. After picking the ball up in his own half, the Vulcans’ fullback carried the ball past multiple tackles and was able to play the ball out wide to the right wing. From there, the Vulcans made it down to within metres of the try line. Although the Spartans again defended through multiple phases, the Vulcans found enough strength to get the ball down and bring the score to 12-0.

The cold was turning on the players with multiple knocks and shocks affecting both sides. Undeterred, the 2XV-Bs came together and continued to play some of their best rugby, with forwards in particular taking big hits trying to find a try.

Just after half time the Spartans forwards piled in together in the Vulcans 22 and, after much pushing, lock Tom Vosper found the tryline and brought the Spartans back into the game at 12-5.

With the momentum on their side, the B’s pushed for their second try.  Backs, including Gazz Pashley and Robbie Young, now carrying with ferocity to rival the forwards and forced the Vulcans into big hits and hard work to defend themselves.

Having absorbed the pressure, the Vulcans were able to kick downfield. The chasing pack were able to overhaul the Spartans defence and scramble the ball over for their third try and the score now 17-5.

With the conditions affecting the players, the Vulcans were forced into playing with 13 men and the Spartans began to crank the pressure up. Multiple pick and go phases from the forwards – including Chris Eades and Terence Ralph – carried our squad to the 22m line. From there, scrum-half James Anderson sniped down the blind side and shrugged off two tackles to score.

Although the conversion was blown wide by the wind, the 2XV-Bs pushed back again, and powerful running was again the Spartans’ friend. After a handful of phases, Joe Brady was able to crash over in the final minutes, closing out the game just short of the win at 17-15.

Tom Vosper was awarded man of the match.