Stamford Rugby Club beat Bugbrooke
Stamford remain among the top three teams challenging for Counties 1 Midlands East (South) honours after a hard-fought away win at Bugbrooke on Saturday.
The purple, black and whites returned with a 7-12 success for their seventh consecutive league victory.
They made the trip to Northampton on Saturday to find that the wet weather in the area had reduced the pitch to a mass of mud and water and it was clear this was going to have a very heavy influence on the game.
Players were unable to get a secure footing which meant flowing rugby was not going to happen.
It was the home side that tried to apply early pressure but they were quickly put down by some big hit tackles by Stamford, something they maintained throughout the game.
When Town were awarded a penalty, Ian Downer kicked long and, from the resulting line-out drive, Austin Baker broke clear and found prop Mike Harris in support for a try under the posts which Bentley converted to give Stamford an early 0-7 lead.
The remainder of the first half saw both sides looking to create openings but the conditions stopped as much play as the defending did. Stamford always looked the better side but could not add to the score.
The second half continued in the same manner with dropped balls and missed passes ending up with more scrums in conditions that made life difficult especially for the front rows.
Stamford prop Joe Ireland was injured and shortly afterwards a Bugbrooke prop was shown a yellow card and, as they had no suitable replacement, the referee declared uncontested scrums for the remainder of the game.
The purple, black and whites still looked the better side and, when Downer made a run out of defence, he covered half the pitch before chipping over the full-back and winning the race to touch down for a fine individual try to make the score 0-12.
Bugbrooke went all out attack in the closing quarter but the Stamford tackling just got better as Jones, Cox and Small led the way with others in support before the hosts found a gap for a converted try in the last minute to end the game at 7-12.
It was another example of an ugly win for Stamford on a pitch that looked like a ploughed field. Bugbrooke will see the real Stamford in the return fixture in the new year.