Town hit form for semi-final clash

Stamford skipper Oli Story (centre) was delighted by last Saturday's victory''Photo: Pip Warters
Stamford skipper Oli Story (centre) was delighted by last Saturday's victory''Photo: Pip Warters

STAMFORD face local rivals Kesteven in the semi-final of the NLD Shield tomorrow on the back of a superb winning performance last Saturday.

They sauntered to a 41-10 victory against Northampton Casuals, putting the disappointment of a narrow defeat to top side Northampton BBOB a week earlier well and truly behind them.

The win also lifts them to fourth in the Midlands 3 East (South) division but perhaps more important was the style of their victory.

Skipper Oli Story said: “This was a good performance. We have had a few changes in personnel so this was a great chance to see our developing strength in depth.”

Coach David Laventure remains optimistic about Stamford’s chances for promotion.

He added: “We enjoyed the firm, sunny conditions which allowed us to play – the bonus point keeps us floating around the top four which for our first season in this league, is where we want to be.”

The home team started brightly as Frank Weise and Oli Story carried the ball forward strongly while Matt Albinson and Tom Lindley distributed the ball effectively and quickly spread the visitors all over the park.

The front row of James Green, Angus Green and Julian Criddle worked tirelessly to generate good attacking play.

Russell Harris cantered in to get the scoreboard moving after a lovely sweeping move and tighthead Green stormed over from close range after an initial drive for the line came up just short.

Laurent Ross soon added more points, scoring in the corner.

Stamford continued to defend well with Luke Cripps and Bruce Parker making more than their fair share of tackles.

The second half saw much the same from a dominant home side.

Ross scuttled over for his second after good work from Harry Offer and Patrick Chuter in the midfield.

As Stamford continued to up the tempo, the referee’s patience eventually ran out as Casuals killed the ball one too many times and lost a player to the sin bin.

Albinson took advantage of the extra man to shoot down the blind side to add to Stamford’s growing try tally.

Northampton never really got to grips with the pace and width of Stamford, and great ambition from Offer, Thompson and Bland led to the final score – a cracker from inside their own half to round things off.

l STAMFORD’S match against Kesteven starts at 2pm.

The second XV travel to Westwood while Stamford Vets play Spalding Vets away. Both games start at 2pm.

l STAMFORD RFC are re-launching their Colts (under 19s) set up. They will train on Thursday nights (6.30pm) with games at weekends. All players are welcome to attend.