Stamford 45 St Ives 12
STAMFORD fully exploited their arsenal to beat a tenacious St Ives side by seven tries to two on Saturday.
The visitors started with intent, forcing Stamford into conceding seven penalties in as many minutes but once within striking distcnae, the visitors’ sailed wide of the right-hand upright, leaving Stamford rueing their narrow escape.
But St Ives again made their way towards the Stamford goalline, eventually forcing their way over in the corner as Stamford lost the powerful Bruce Parker to a dislocation.
The try finally stirred the Stamford beast and the flowing, offload-based rugby that had seen the side notch up an average of almost 40 points per game began to show.
Scrum-half Robbie Smith was held up in-goal, and from the resulting five-metre scrum Adam Rimmer fed Smith who grounded the ball to put Stamford’s first five points on the board.
Stamford kept their collective foot on the gas. From the restart, Jack Eifion-Jones broke several tackles before offloading to captain and hooker Oli Story. He was brought down 15 metres out and the quick rucking of Allan allowed Smith to feed Tom Lindley, who scored in the corner.
The home side extended their lead further as a deft flick from the back of outside-half Matthew Albinson’s hand allowed Eifion-Jones, enjoying a man-of-the-match performance, to score the side’s third try – all three converted by full-back Craig Felston to leave Stamford with a 21-5 advantage at the break.
The Stamford pack stepped up a gear after the interval and gained the upper hand.
Allan poached possession from isolated opposition ball-carriers and the tireless support work of Jake Wilkins, James Green, Archie Gemmell, and blindside Cam Park ensured Stamford had as many phases as they needed to spread the ball wide to stretch, break and get behind the St Ives defensive line.
Two further tries completed an Eifion-Jones hat-trick, aided by Calvin Dendy-Young and Laurent Ross who made breaks up the field. Between these tries, Lindley spotted Richard Justice in space and a huge left-handed spin pass put the winger over the line to further cement his place as Stamford’s leading scorer for the season.
St Ives continued to battle and the scoreline fails to reflect how hard Stamford were made to work. The tenacity of the away side was eventually rewarded with a try, driven over by the St Ives pack which was converted to rack the visitors up to 12 points.
Stamford responded with a second try for Smith, the seventh and final for Stamford against a side that were on a winning run themselves.
Captain Oli Story said: “After a shaky start the boys pulled together and blew them away with pace and quick offloading.
“It’s how we enjoy playing and with the season in its twilight days we are making the most of being part of a squad that is a pleasure to be part of, on and off the field.”
Stamford’s undefeated league campaign continues tomorrow at bottom-side Westwood.
Stamford: Felston, Justice, Dendy-Young, Lindley (McDowell, 60), Ross, Albinson, Smith, Green, Story (C), Gemmell, Parker (Allan, 8), Wilkins, Park (Jordan, 65), Eifion-Jones, Rimmer.