Stamford College Old Boys are beaten by Rugby St Andrews
Stamford College Old Boys were hit by a late surge from unbeaten leaders Rugby St Andrews in Saturday's clash at Welland Academy.
The visitors recorded a 20-29 win to secure their 11th victory of the Counties 3 Midlands East (South) season.
After a frustrating loss in Northampton last time out, the Old Boys had gone into the game looking to make amends.
St Andrews won the toss and opted to kick off, opening a fiercely contested match which saw neither side take full control in the early minutes.
The Rugby side used their powerful forward runners to try break the College defence, but big tackles from the likes of Beall, Fraser and Greenslade meant the line held strong and they were unable to gain any real momentum.
That was until fly-half Haydn Johns delivered a moment of solo magic to score the first points of the afternoon.
Johns slipped through the St Andrews defence and kicked the ball over the opposition full-back, gathering it himself to score in the corner.
Carl Brierley-Lewis continued his excellent form off the tee and converted the extras, giving the Old Boys a 7-0 lead.
Upon restarting, the game continued much the same, with Rugby St Andrews showing excellent offloading skills while the Old Boys' defensive structure was able to quickly react and plug the gaps where needed.
In possession, College forwards punched holes through the St Andrews defence, marching the Old Boys up the pitch.
Another piece of solo magic from Johns saw the fly-half dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge his way through the defensive line, weaving his way to try-line to score his second under the posts.
The ever-dependable Brierley-Lewis once again kicked the conversion and the College led 14-0.
Despite the scoreline, Rugby St Andrews were very much still in the game, and poor discipline from the Old Boys gave them the platform they needed to launch an attack.
From a lineout, the Rugby side executed a perfect driving maul, shoving the College all the way to their line to score in the corner. An impressive effort from the kicker saw St Andrews kick the extras, closing the gap to 14-7.
With momentum on their side, the St Andrews backline sprung into action right from the kick-off, carving their way through the Stamford defence and quickly working their way up the pitch, scoring two quick tries in as many minutes.
Both conversions went wide but it meant Rugby St Andrews went into the break with a 14-17 lead.
It was Stamford who got the first points of the second half, opting to kick three points after winning a breakdown penalty, levelling the scoreboard at 17-17.
St Andrews proved the Old Boys weren't the only team with an effective kicker, as a big kick down the pitch bounced awkwardly away from the College defenders and into the hands of the Rugby winger.
After a quick dash down the line, the Old Boys put in a good try-saving tackle, but it wasn't quite good enough as the St Andrews player dotted the ball down in the process.
The conversion was good and Rugby St Andrews once again established a lead, 17-24.
After an unfortunate collision, the Rugby St Andrews flanker was given a red card.
Old Boys opted to kick another three-points from the subsequent penalty, closing the gap to 20-24, and giving them a man advantage for the last 20-minutes.
The Old Boys began to swing momentum in the game as big runs from the likes of Darlington and Sherwin forced the visitors to make mistakes, gaining vital metres - but pressure wasn't converted into points.
In contrast, Rugby St Andrews took their opportunities to work their way up the pitch.
After conceding an offside penalty, despite some confusion on the pitch, the Rugby side took a quick tap penalty giving the College no time to reset their defence, allowing St Andrews to score unopposed.
The kick went wide but the visitors had secured their 20-29 victory.
While it was not the result the coaches wanted, they expressed pride in the passion of the squad, going toe-to-toe with a team who haven't lost a single match all season.
Old Boys travel to Rugby Welsh in league action on Saturday.