Stamford College Old Boys defeat Deepings Rugby Club
Stamford College Old Boys returned with a bonus point victory after a 5-26 success in Saturday's derby duel at Deepings.
The Counties 3 Midlands East (South) match had been swiftly rearranged after it was postponed the previous weekend due to a frozen pitch.
It was an admirable effort from both sides to field a team with such short notice given this was a scheduled break weekend.
In very windy conditions, Stamford had the early upper hand as the opening 15 minutes were spent deep in the Deepings half, but ultimately they couldn't convert their pressure to points.
Unfortunately, frustrations rose and discipline slipped, meaning three quick penalties and Deepings found themselves in the driving seat, deep in the College 22.
A smart kick over the College defensive line saw Deepings winger Pierce Knox collect the ball and glide in for the opening score of the afternoon. The conversion was missed and the home side led 5-0.
The Old Boys responded quickly and strong running from the College forwards edged them closer to the try-line.
The ball eventually found its way to Tim Juggins who single-handedly powered through the Deepings defenders, scoring to the right of the posts for his first score for the Old Boys.
The ever dependable Carl Brierley-Lewis added the extras and Stamford took a 5-7 lead.
Thanks to the conditions, the match continued to be a scrappy back-and-forth contest but, just before half-time, the College got their second score of the afternoon.
With a scrum 15-metres out, experienced number eight Callum Fraser took the ball from the base, smashed through the Deepings defenders, and scored a great solo try to the left of the posts.
It was another great kick in difficult conditions from Brierley-Lewis which gave Stamford a 5-14 lead going into the half-time break.
With the second half underway, both sides knew the next score would be pivotal, but the weather conditions meant they struggled to get a foothold on the game and each struggled with discipline.
Eventually, the Old Boys' backline connected perfectly and, with the ball in the hands of returning star winger Harry Bell, there was only going to be one outcome.
His incredible pace down the wing saw him beat several defenders to score in the corner. Unfortunately, the conditions got the better of Brierley-Lewis and the conversion was missed as College led 5-19.
The Old Boys secured the vital bonus point in the final play of the match.
Storming runs from Joe Harrington, Juggins and Sam Durman edged the Old Boys further up the pitch until they were just 10 metres from the Deepings try line.
Scrum-half Flanders saw an opportunity to slip through a gap at the breakdown but was denied a trademark try just a couple of metres from the line.
He excellently offloaded the ball in the tackle to Bell, who completed the short run in to score under the posts.
Brierley-Lewis once again kicked the conversion, despite the terrible conditions, and the game finished 5-26 to the Old Boys.
The College team were delighted to secure the full five-points from the match, but huge credit must be given to Deepings who dug deep for the full 80 minutes and put in an impressive performance.
Old Boys are at home to third-placed Rugby Lions on Saturday while the second team will face their Spalding counterparts. Deepings travel to Northampton Men's Own.