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Stamford College Old Boys defeat South Leicester in Midlands 4 East (South)

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Stamford College Old Boys recorded their first league victory of the season against former National League Two North side South Leicester on Saturday.

They were delighted to run out 25-17 winners in the Midlands 4 East (South) clash despite travelling with a depleted squad due to their current injury woes.

No time was wasted as College hit the ground running and put pressure on South Leicester through their impressive defensive co-ordination and line speed. This forced the home outfit to make countless mistakes in the first 10 minutes.

Stamford College Old Boys defeated South Leicester on Saturday. Photo: Ray Bates (53274039)
Stamford College Old Boys defeated South Leicester on Saturday. Photo: Ray Bates (53274039)

Eventually the hard work from the likes of Darlington and Sherwin paid off and College forced the turnover and began working their way up the pitch.

Impressive runs from Pickerill and Shepherd created space for the backs to open their legs and play the ball out wide and make critical yards.

As College approached South Leicester’s try-line, the referee awarded them a penalty for hands in the ruck and skipper Haydn Johns opted to kick the penalty to make the score 0-3.

South Leicester went on to string some impressive phases of their own together and Stamford College’s strong defensive effort wasn’t enough as they gave away a penalty of their own where the home side levelled the scores at 3-3.

Back underway, College began to demonstrate what they are capable of with ball in hand, as the pack carried aggressively and Haydn Johns bossed his backline, exploiting the gaps created by the forwards' hard work.

Phase after phase, the Old Boys edged towards the try line until a flawless pass out wide saw Austin deliver a perfectly crafted run around the Leicester defense to score in the corner.

Unfortunately, it was too wide for the kicker and the conversation was missed, but the Old Boys led 3-8.

South Leicester kicked deep at the restart, pinning College back in their own 22, but after a handful of nervous phases from the forwards, the pressure was eased with a clearing kick.

An incredible chase from Austin then quickly forced a Leicester mistake as they fumbled the catch.

Stamford College Old Boys defeated South Leicester on Saturday. Photo: Ray Bates (53274035)
Stamford College Old Boys defeated South Leicester on Saturday. Photo: Ray Bates (53274035)

Austin finished the job, collecting the ball and offloading to Haydn Johns who ran in a 30 metre try of his own.

The conversion was not to be missed this time as Stamford College extended their lead to 3-15 with their second try in five minutes.

South Leicester once again kicked deep at the restart, pinning the Old Boys deep in their own 22. The home side were then awarded a penaltyand kicked to the corner.

A well-drilled defensive set from Stamford saw them repel the driving maul, with dominant tackles from Pulley and Wilkinson driving Leicester further and further from the try line.

However, the Leicester outfit’s pressure soon proved too much, as they found a gap in the defensive line and ran in a try of their own. The conversion was kicked to make it 10-15.

The pressure was piled on College early after the restart, forcing a fast turnover, and quick thinking from the Leicester backline saw them play the ball out wide and score in the corner themselves. Once again, the extras were added, and the Old Boys had lost the lead at 17-15.

There was to be one last crucial moment of the first half as a storming run from Houston, who broke through three tackles to make significant yards, put Stamford College back into South Leicester's half.

Eventually, a penalty was won and kicked to the corner where it was time for the forwards to go to work.

An impressive line-out and driving maul, orchestrated carefully by scrum half Flanders, edged closer to the home side's try-line, until Duncan broke through the congested openside with a short run and scored College’s third try of the day.

Stamford College Old Boys defeated South Leicester on Saturday. Photo: Ray Bates (53274037)
Stamford College Old Boys defeated South Leicester on Saturday. Photo: Ray Bates (53274037)

The conversion was good, meaning the Old Boys led 17-22 at half time.

The second half was a balanced affair, as South Leicester’s fresh legs tested the depleted College team who were forced by injury to use all their substitutes in the first half.

Huge defensive efforts from the likes of Harker, Callum Johns and Durman kept the South Leicester attack at bay,while impressive breakdown work from Manning prevented them from building any real momentum.

Ultimately, South Leicester registered no points of their own in the second half which was a testament to the Stamford College Old Boys’ desire to win.

Meanwhile, runs from Bell and Prior in the backs allowed College to play the match in the right areas of the field.

The only points of the second half came in the dying minutes of the match as skipper Haydn Johns kicked a penalty to cement the win and deny the Leicester squad a losing bonus point.

College have a much-needed bye-week now before returning to league action at home against Thorney on Saturday, December 4.

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