Stamford College Old Boys beat Sileby Town Rugby Club
Stamford College Old Boys moved up two places in Counties 3 Midlands East (South) after a 26-17 success over Sileby Town on Saturday.
The victory was Old Boys' fourth win in their last five matches and ensured they are building on their good form from before the festive break.
The visiting Vikings kicked the game off and Stamford hit the ground running from the off.
An excellent kick return from fly-half Jamie Jenkins saw the College deep in the Sileby half.
With the College scrum providing the perfect platform, a well-executed move saw Jenkins barrel through the Sileby defence, beating a handful of defenders, to score under the posts.
The ever-dependable Carl Brierley-Lewis, the College's top point scorer so far this season, stepped up to convert the try, giving the Old Boys a 7-0 lead after as many minutes.
After a short backward and forward, the College found themselves with another scrum deep in the Vikings' half.
This time, number-eight Kristian Naylor picked the ball up from the base, breaking down the touchline to cruise in unopposed, working his way under the posts to ensure a simple conversion. As expected, Brierley-Lewis converted and the Old Boys led 14-0.
With the half coming to an end, the Sileby penalty count increased allowing the College to work their way up the pitch.
Eventually, the Old Boys were just within kicking range and Brierley-Lewis kicked the penalty, extending the lead to 17-0 at half-time.
In a considerable momentum swing, the visitors started the second half on the front foot, getting their first score of the afternoon around the 50-minute mark.
After a well-placed kick won Vikings a five-metre lineout, which the Old Boys repelled excellently, Sileby quickly adapted, moving the ball out wide to score in the far corner. The conversion was missed making the score 17-5.
Both teams put in impressive defensive performances for the next 20 minutes, with huge tackles from the likes of Durman, Harrington, and Twose repelling the Sileby defence.
Much like their opponents in the first half, the Old Boys' discipline began to slip, and Sileby worked their way up the pitch.
Despite impressively defending their try-line, the Sileby forwards eventually found their way through to score to the right side of the posts. This time the conversion was good and the gap closed to 17-12.
Recognising the Vikings were building momentum, the Old Boys pivoted their game plan, opting to extend their lead, with three points when they won a penalty in the Sileby half.
Brierley-Lewis once again showed his kicking excellence and the College earned some breathing space by extending their lead to 20-12.
Sileby hit back by scoring their third try of the afternoon, in a very similar fashion to their first.
This time from the base of a scrum, the Vikings quickly moved the ball wide to score in the corner. The conversion was missed but the score tightened to 20-17.
But the College stuck to their game plan, opting to kick another three-pointer when Sileby conceded a breakdown penalty in their own half.
Brierley-Lewis cooly kicked the points and the College extended their lead to 23-17.
After another scrappy five minutes, with the College defence holding strong, the Old Boys eventually won the ball at the breakdown and kicked it to touch to finish the match with the victory moving them into the top six of the table.
They travel to Northampton Men's Own on Saturday who they drew with at home earlier in the season.
It's a critical game as the Old Boys could move up another two league places if they emerge victorious.
The College's second team will host their Spalding counterparts at Welland Academy on Saturday.