Stamford tackle huge challenge

Photo: SM030811-019ow.jpg'Stamford RFC v Lincoln in the NLD Shield.

Photo: SM030811-019ow.jpg'Stamford RFC v Lincoln in the NLD Shield.

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Stamford 21 Lincoln 19

STAMFORD passed their first official test of the 2011 campaign with victory against Lincoln in the NLD Shield.This was always going to be a huge task taking on a bigger club from a higher league and with 15 players unavailable, Stamford fielded a very young side with little First XV experience.

Skipper Oli Story was pleased with the performance and result. He said “It was a tough game but a great opportunity for the new guys.

“We are going to need strength in depth this year and the early signs are encouraging.”

Stamford controlled the early exchanges but let in a soft counter attack try after 10 minutes. This kick-started the home side into life as they lifted the tempo to suit their smaller but faster side.

Harry Offer put Story through a hole and he offloaded the ball brilliantly for Laurent Ross to dive under the sticks.

Stamford continued to dominate the breakdown and the pace of their attack started to leave the Lincoln forwards in disarray.

Great lines from Will Mardling and Offer set up wave after wave of attack and John Murphy, James Green and Jonny Goodson supported well in open spaces.

Andy Morris crashed over to put the hosts 14-7 up and great work from Robbie Smith, Laurent Ross and David Purcell allowed Ed Flint to smash over with Albinson converting for a 21-7 lead.

Unfortunately a lapse of concentration allowed Lincoln in at the break.The second half started badly for Stamford with the visitors gaining an ascendancy up front. They put together a few pick-and-goes and went over to pull it back to 21-19.

Stamford responded playing territory well and the great efforts of Bruce Parker and Matt Helstrip kept them on the front foot.

They did everything except score, but just did enough as the final whistle went.

First XV coach David Laventure said: “We had some early season set piece issues, which can be resolved, but ultimately we stuck to what we are good at.

“It’s a cup match and you just need more points than your opponents! We learned that last year with our cup successes.”

Stamford begin their new campaign in Midlands 3 East (South) at Deeping RFC tomorrow. Kick off is at 3pm.