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Stamford College Old Boys Rugby Club defeat Castle Donington

Stamford College Old Boys ended a run of three consecutive defeats in Counties 3 Midlands East (South) with a 22-17 home success over Castle Donington on Saturday.

Fly-half Haydn Johns scored 17 of the home side's points in an excellent win over their fourth-placed visitors.

Old Boys kicked off the game playing into the strong wind and it was the visitors who asserted themselves in the game first thanks to their ability to move the ball wide quickly and test the home defence.

Stamford College Old Boys lock horns with Castle Donington at Welland Academy on Saturday.
Stamford College Old Boys lock horns with Castle Donington at Welland Academy on Saturday.

Despite this, the College remained well disciplined and big tackles from the likes of Tim Juggins and Sam Durman kept Castle Donington at bay.

Castle Donington had the upper-hand at scrum-time and used it effectively to provide a great platform for their backs to move the ball wide.

After 20 minutes, the Old Boys defence eventually broke down as the Donington winger burst down the wing to score in the corner. The wind proved too much for the kicker so it wasn't converted, but the visitors took a 0-5 lead.

After the restart the College began putting some phases of possession together themselves, working Donington across the pitch and edging themselves closer to the try line.

That was until Donington were penalised at the breakdown, giving the Old Boys a simple penalty kick right in front of the posts. Johns stepped up and kicked the points cooly, closing the gap at 3-5 going into half-time.

In the second half. Stamford had the wind behind them, allowing them to put constant pressure on the Castle Donington back-three through the boot of Johns.

The difference in approach was clear to see as the Old Boys hit the ground running, scoring the first try within 10 minutes.

Some good work from the backs saw Dom Hearne barrelled through the Donington defence, before offloading the ball to winger Tyler Houston who scored in the corner. Johns added the extras giving the Old Boys a 10-5 lead.

As both teams tired, the penalty count began to grow, but impressive defence and continued kicking pressure from Johns meant the Old Boys were typically in the right position to convert them into points.

Action from Old Boys' victory over Castle Donington at Welland Academy on Saturday,
Action from Old Boys' victory over Castle Donington at Welland Academy on Saturday,

Shortly after their first try, the first opportunity presented itself and Johns once again converted it to points, extending the Old Boys lead to 13-5.

Unfortunately it was the Old Boys who found themselves on the wrong side of the referee next, as vice-captain Oliver Sherwin received a yellow card for repeated team infringements.

Castle Donington capitalised on the man advantage excellently, stretching the College defence to get their second try out wide of the afternoon.

Unfortunately, the wind once again proved too much for the kicker, and the conversion was missed, but the gap closed to 13-10.

Stamford didn’t let the man advantage make too much of difference as their defence held strong, keeping Donington to only five points in the period.

Before long, Johns was adding another two penalties to his score tally for the day within the space of five minutes and taking the score to 19-10.

Donington didn't lose hope and pulled some impressive phases together from deep in their own half.

The defence held strong, but tired College bodies began to give away penalties at the breakdown, giving their opposition the opportunity to move up the match.

Castle Donington opted for quick tap penalties, marching quickly up the pitch. Eventually, this resulted in Donington scoring under the posts, which was easily converted, closing the score to 19-17 - and creating a tense final five minutes.

Thankfully, the Old Boys found themselves with another penalty within kicking range and extended their lead to 22-17, meaning a three-point penalty wouldn't be enough for Donington to secure the win, but a try would still do it.

Upon the restart Donington looked to play deep out of their own half again - and made territory. However, the Old Boys defence once again stood strong, as was the theme of the afternoon, and the game finished 22-17.

The Old Boys second team are in action this weekend at the Welland Academy with an NLD Bowl quarter-final against Keyworth.

The first team return to league action on Saturday, March 2, when they travel to second-placed Northampton BBOB.

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