A new-look Stamford first XI came up short in the opening round of the NLD Shield on Saturday against Nottingham Casuals.
Debuts were given to second row Alan O’Connor (Peterborough Lions), wing Dan Thompson ( Peterborough Lions)and flanker Tom Mutter (Hullionians).
Stamford had the livelier start but did not manage to convert overlaps and scoring opportunities into points.
However Nottingham capitalised on a penalty and ran it from deep with their fullback and man-of-the-match Ben Hallam who carved a line through the Stamford backs to open the scoring.
Stamford where then penalised constantly at the breakdown allowing for an identical try for Hallam as he bagged his brace.
Stamford were not going to allow Casuals an easy ride and they launched an attack from their own 22.
Thanks to some good ball-handling skills and excellent support play, Stamford they went up field to cross for a well -deserved converted try.
Unfortunately their inability to stem the penalties against them allowed Higgins to restore some advantage with a simple kick at goal.
Despite the obvious benefits of keeping the ball in hand, and Stamford’s ability to put together moves when they had possession, Casuals gave away the ball with a very badly placed kick.
Stamford ran the ball back for a simple, executed try from their own half, pulling the score back to 12 - 15 at half-time.
Higgins gave Casuals the opening score in the second half with another penalty, but Stamford came back into the game with a try through Bruce Parker following a driven maul from a lineout. Unfortunately the conversion was missed.
Casuals then scored an unconverted try with a break down the shortside and kicked a penalty as Stamford’s ill discipline again cost them points.
Stamford answered back with a try from a five metre scrum, again from mercurial number eight Bruce Parker.
Ill discipline and an uncharacteristically poor day with the boot cost Stamford this game.
However they must show a vastly improved performance tomorrow when they make the trip up north to Ashbourne in their first league match in Midlands 2.