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Harry holds his nerve to kick conversion after Starkey scores late leveller.





A successful conversion with the final kick of the game secured derby victory for Stamford on Saturday in their Counties 1 Midlands East (South) clash at Bourne.

Harry Bentley stroked the ball through the posts after Felix Starkey had scored the try which helped give Stamford a 24-26 victory.

Bourne had gone into the game on the back of a six-match winning run and they led 19-7 at half-time and also held a 24-12 advantage in the second period.

Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock

But Stamford finished with a flourish to secure a sixth successive victory which keeps their hopes of a top two finish alive.

The game was set up for everything a local derby should be with both clubs playing fully committed rugby.

It was Stamford who kicked off and followed up with some pressure play that took them into the home 22 area.

When the referee awarded them a penalty, skipper Jack Jones took a quick tap and forced his way over for a try that Bentley converted to give the visitors an early 0-7 lead.

Bourne came straight back with a series of attacks that Stamford defended but the hosts were working their way upfield and executed a perfect crossfield kick to put John Levett over for a try which was converted by captain Sam Evison to level the scores.

Bourne were now getting the upper hand and were using their forwards in close support play and had Stamford on the back foot.

Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock

The home team had the greater share of possession and, from a close range scrum, they moved the ball wide to allow Levett to cross for his second try which when converted by Evison gave them a 14-7 lead.

The game progressed in the same way with Bourne dominating play at times.

Stamford tried to break out but, when they lost the ball, Bourne kicked long. From the follow up maul, Tom Dixon suddenly emerged on the blind-side with a clear run to the line to score a try which made the score 19-7 at half-time.

Stamford started the second half by increasing their pace and quick passing allowed Dave Martin to run out of defence before offloading to Arthur Lewis to score which closed the gap to 19-12.

Bourne again began to dominate play and a multi phase attack resulted in a five metre scrum and the well drilled pack drove over for the fourth try from former Stamford player Gaz Ramsden which secured their bonus point at 24-12.

The home side continued to apply pressure and Stamford tried to run out of their own half but good Bourne defence stopped them.

Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Bourne went down to a narrow derby defeat against Stamford on Saturday. Photo: Alan Hancock
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby

Stamford were now desperate to break the Bourne hold on the game and, going into the closing minutes, broke out on the blind side and forced their way into the home 22.

From the resulting ruck, they fed the ball to Lewis who wrong-footed the defence to score under the posts. He then drop-kicked the conversion to move the score to 24-19 as the game entered the closing minutes.

Bourne lost a player to a yellow card and another was replaced following an injury.

Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory at Bourne on Saturday. Photo: Darren Dolby

It was now the last chance for Stamford who came back hard and fast with a series of recycled phases which took them up to the home try line.

They finally managed a drive and release to put Starkey over for a try which gave them a bonus point and drew the scores level at 24-24.

Everything now rested on the conversion and, when Bentley was successful, the referee blew for full time with the final score at 24-26 as the travelling supporters cheered their team off the pitch.

This was a hard-fought victory for Stamford and for most of the match it looked like it was going to be Bourne’s day.

The win closes the gap on second placed Daventry with four games to go, three of which are at home. Stamford host Old Laurentians in a rearranged match on Saturday (3pm).



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