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Stamford Rugby Club beat Vipers of Leicester





Stamford secured a dramatic injury-time victory in their Counties 1 Midlands East (South) clash at Leicester Vipers on Saturday.

Ed Cox powered over the line to score a try deep into stoppage time before Harry Bentley kicked the conversion for a 30-31 success.

Second-placed Stamford had travelled to Leicester with high confidence following the previous win in the last match.

Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby

A large number of supporters were at pitchside to add their support and coach Matt Albinson had the rare treat of being able to select 14 of the previous team and welcomed Nick Green into the side for his senior debut.

Stamford kicked off and fly half Ian Downer chose to kick deep into the home side's 22 and their full back took the ball, settled himself to return it but, when he kicked, skipper Jack Jones had closed the gap to nothing and charged the kick down.

He scooped up the ball and crossed for the opening try which Bentley converted to give Town a 0-7 lead after only 60 seconds.

Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby

Vipers recovered from the shock and fought their way back but the only reward they achieved was a converted penalty.

Stamford kicked deep again and the hosts knocked on. From the resulting scrum, Downer made a break before off-loading to Cox who found Tris Small in support and it took some desperate Vipers tackling to bring him down.

Stamford were now putting some good moves together and released Dan Heard who fed Downer who chipped the ball perfectly into the corner.

Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby

Town competed at the resulting line out and turned the ball over before moving it wide to full back Dave Martin to score to make the score 3-12.

The home team were now putting their own phases together and got into the Stamford 22 and, following a series of penalties, Town had Ali Shaw sent to the sin-bin.

A further infringement saw the referee award a penalty try and close the score to 10-12.

Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby

As injury-time was being played, the whistle was expected by all but Stamford used the long kick again and it was Jones once more who got on the end of it to score his second try to make the half-time score 10-17.

Both sides now knew what to expect in the second half and the contacts were getting more intensive.

The Stamford front row of Mike Harris, Harley Riches and Calum Robertson were coming under a lot of pressure and Town were using the running skills of Ben Chisholm and Small to try and break the game up but it was the Leicester side that broke through and scored wide out to make it 15-17.

Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby

Cheered on from the touchline, Stamford upped their game and, from a penalty, Bentley kicked into the corner.

At the resulting line out, the forwards drove over with Robertson getting the try which was converted to make it 15-24 and secure the four try bonus point.

Injuries were now affecting the game and physio Matt Taylor was kept busy. Stamford brought on Joe Ireland into the front row and Austin Baker in the back row.

Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby
Action from Stamford's victory over Vipers. Photo: Darren Dolby

But it was Vipers who came back strongly and worked a converted try to close the gap to 22-24.

Stamford were hanging on and Zach Morley and Mike Kendall in the backs were covering acres in defence and Jones received a yellow card for killing the ball which gave Vipers the edge and the confidence to throw everything into attack.

This paid off when they crossed for a try and shortly afterwards a penalty which put them 30-24 in the lead.

Harry Bentley. Photo: Darren Dolby
Harry Bentley. Photo: Darren Dolby

The numerous injuries and stoppages meant there was a lot of extra time added during which Stamford attacked but were met with fierce defence resulting in more injuries and added time.

Town regrouped, brought Adam Hawkins on for the final phase, and went on the attack, finally being stopped on the 22 line when Cox burst through and powered his way to the line .

Cheered on by his team-mates and the supporters, he dotted down with about four Vipers defenders trying to grab him.

This made the score 30-29 in the 14th minute of injury time and Bentley stepped up and calmly stroked the conversion over to close the game at 30-31.

The cheering from the travelling supporters made it sound like a home game and team manager Chloe McLaughlan was left speechless.

It proves that the game is not over until the final whistle goes and the team were cheered off the pitch.

Stamford's next match is at home on Saturday with another local derby and Bourne. Kick off is at 2.15pm and the Purple, Black and Whites will be looking to carry the recent momentum into this fixture.



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