Stamford College Rugby Club round-up
Stamford College Old Boys ended the unbeaten run of Northampton BBOB in Saturday's Counties 3 Midlands East (South) clash at Welland Academy.
They ran out 25-10 winners to end their visitors' six-match winning run in what was an anticipated fixture against a Northampton side who had returned to the division after relegation last season.
Northampton won the toss and elected to kick off with both teams battling hard in the first 15 minutes, however, neither side were able to take control of the game thanks to impressive defences.
It was the College who eventually broke the deadlock after opting to kick which Carl Brierley-Lewis slotted calmly between the posts, giving the Old Boys a 3-0 lead.
The back-and-forth continued but the pressure from the Stamford pack started to weigh on BBOBs, as hard running from the likes of Juggins and Fraser gave the College the upper hand.
Unfortunately, despite a strong effort from the College, playing a man down due to a yellow card eventually wore them down.
On the stroke of half-time, Northampton broke through to score the first try of the afternoon. The try wasn’t converted and the score at half time was 3-5 to BBOBs.
That sparked new energy into the Old Boys, who weren’t going to roll over and admit defeat.
Instead, the College went into the second half with a deep determination to get their first league victory of the season.
A handful of minutes after the restart, it was a well worked line-out routine that gave College their opening try of the afternoon.
A perfectly executed line-out move saw Sam Duncan plow through the Northampton defender to score in the corner. Brierley-Lewis kicked the conversion and took the score to 10-5.
Eager to build the scoreboard, another training ground move saw Stamford cross the line 10 minutes into the second half.
Jamie Jenkins joined the forward pods and, with some impressive footwork, crashed the ball over the line. Brierley-Lewis once again converted the try and the Old Boys led 17-5.
The College piled pressure onto Northampton immediately after the restart.
With Northampton starting to concede penalties for infringements at the breakdown, it wasn’t long before the Old Boys were back within kicking range.
Brierley-Lewis stepped up once again to keep the scoreboard ticking over and the College extended their lead to 20-5.
Much to BBOBs credit, they weren’t finished yet.
With 10 minutes remaining, some impressive running from their backline helped them break the Stamford defence out wide, scoring their second of the afternoon. The try wasn’t converted - hitting the crossbar instead - and the score was 20-10.
Old Boys knew they had to dig deep to repel a strong BBOBs side who had momentum for the remainder of the game - and they did so effectively.
As fatigue set in, the final moments saw a growing number of knock-ons and scrums - something the Northampton side had the edge all afternoon and the College pack had to work hard.
With under a minute remaining of the match, the Old Boys won a scrum deep into the Northampton half.
After securing the ball, and running some tight forward carries to eat precious seconds, the ball was moved out wide to Frankie Nespoli who danced around the BBOBs defenders to score in the corner and cement the vital College win.
They continue their league campaign this weekend with an away trip to Castle Donington, while the second will host old friends Bourne at Welland Academy.
The second team go into the derby duel after a 56-24 defeat at Lincoln 3rds on Saturday as the hosts gained revenge following a convincing College win when the two sides met in Stamford the week before.
Soon after kick-off, it was clear that Lincoln were a much improved and experienced side seeing the hosts notch up 12 quick points thanks to the impact of returning former players.
Old Boys went on to fiercely attack the try line through multiple phases but Lincoln's impressive defence held strong, repelling the College attack.
Unfortunately, during this time flanker Ryan Whitmore took a substantial knock causing the game to move pitches while medical assistance arrived.
Lincoln helped the weakened College side by providing players from their bench to ensure the game continued - showing true rugby spirit.
It was one of those players who put the first points on the board for the Old Boys soon after the game restarted and another try from Lincoln bought the first half to a close at 22-5 to the hosts.
The second half started much the same way the first had ended with the two sides exchanging quick scores with two College tries coming from hooker James Twose.
With the score standing at 39-24 to the hosts, Lincoln and the College mustered every ounce of heart and strength left in the their bodies.
The last 20 minutes proved too much with the experienced Lincoln side running in three more tries to bring the final score to 56-24 in their favour.
Credit to Lincoln who put in a solid performance to collect their first victory of the season in NLD Merit 2 East.
While the score did not go Stamford’s way on this occasion, the determination and will from the boys never let up and the joys of continuing to put out two College teams on a Saturday far outweigh the result.
A final piece of good news was that injured flanker Whitmore returned to The Hurdler, still in full kit, following his hospital visit on Saturday night and brought news that his injury was not as serious as first feared and he was able to enjoy a drink with his team-mates.