Stamford RUFC Vets breezed past Market Harborough Vets 29- 19 in what could a rare home fixture on Saturday.
After a sleepy start with 14 men, Stamford conceded a soft early try. But Rupert Gibson tackle left Harborough’s number 5 off the field injured and when Stamford’s 15th player arrived it was game on for Town’s Vets.
Stamford front row (Mclaren, Olsen and Stenning) dominated the scrums, comfortably winning all of their put-ins and a few against the head.
One of these massive shoves in the Harborough 22 enabled scrum half and captain Steve Roberts to steal the ball and off-load a great pass to blind side Russ Morley to score.
Stamford were repeatedly penalised for closing the gap at line-outs and the penalty count in the game strongly favoured the visitors.
However Jason Lindley and Chris Gallagher ground out a second row battle with Gallagher’s highlight being a thumping bash-up the middle before popping the ball to Morley who rampaged upfield. He was stopped just short of the line but Nick Maunder finished off. Man-of-the-match Rupert Gibson and fellow back rows Darren Bentley and Russ Morley rampaged around the field tackling and rucking Harborough out of the game.
Stamford’s backs were more than a match for their younger opposition. Half backs Steve Roberts and Rob Macmenemey commanded the game and Steve chalked up two conversions. Centres Nick Maunder and Nigel Stanford were solid in defence and made damaging, attacking runs with Nick scoring a second try.
Wings Tony Pickford and Peter Gillman let nothing escape around the fringes with both touching down as Stamford opened up their lead.
Playing out of position at full back, Pip Warters made a welcome return after a long layoff with a couple of excellent counter attacks.
Despite a dominant performance, Stamford battled against the penalty count and Gallagher’s ten minute rest in the sin-bin teased Harborough back into the game resulting in a nail biting 29-19 finish.
l Conditions didn’t help either side when Oundle took on Brackly on Saturday.
Both sides looked to play open rugby but Brackley adapted best to the “Oundle Mud” and won 29-7.
They stole the ball at an early lineout and an unusual lapse in the Oundle defence saw the Brackley inside centre break inside through missed tackeles to score.
Oundle responded with a spell of pressure but Brackley went further ahead, when a last pass was spilled and they ran the interception pick up back the length of the field.
Sloppy defence by Oundle allowed Brackly to stretch the lead to 17-0.
The second half followed a similar pattern with both Brackley tries coming from Oundle fumbles or slips.
Oundle reduced the deficiton 63 minutes with Gareth Jacob crossing, after they pounced on dropped ball. The try was converted by full back George Swallow.