Away win keeps Stamford top
Stamford Rugby continued their blistering form on Saturday with an important 22-19 victory away to Market Bosworth on Saturday in the Midlands Two East North Division.
Stamford came into the game on a high having secured a semi-final place in the NLD Shield against Kesteven RFC the week before, but the memory of their 32-8 loss to Bosworth last season was still in their memory.
Stamford hit the ground running. A flowing move down the left hand side,three minutes in saw Steve Taylor receive the ball wide, break the line with good footwork, chip the full back, gather and go under the posts for the first score of the game. The try was converted for a 7-0 lead.
Bosworth responded well, using their call of ‘hammer’ to feed their big runners outside of the breakdown. Stamford’s defence was resolute and soon enough Bosworth lost direction and simply kicked the ball away up field to the Stamford back three who happily gathered and launched counter attack after counter attack.
With 15 minutes on the clock, Stamford were awarded a penalty for the Bosworth open side not releasing the tackled player. Steve Taylor, who had taken over the touchline kicking for the game put the pack right in the left hand corner, five metres out.
James Ragg opted for a full line and the catch and drive was executed to perfection. The pack ended up over the line, adding another five points to the lead and leaving number eight Bruce Parker with another try to add to his already impressive tally of six in four league games. The conversion was missed and the score line remained 12 - 0.
The following 15 minute period saw Bosworth edge into the game with their tight game. A lack of discipline at the breakdown saw Bosworth kick to the corner and launch their own driving maul. Stamford stopped the danger but a couple of phases later the hosts took a quick tap penalty and scored a converted try for 12-7.
Bosworth scoring was the catalyst to Stamford going on to play some of their best rugby in the final 10 minutes of the half. A strong driving maul down the left allowed scrum half Robbie Smith to move the ball to Laurant Ross, who delivered the ball to O’Shea out the back of the midfield and with a step on the gas the ball was transferred through Steve Taylor’s hands to Tom Dove on the right wing who raced home from 40 yards and had the presence of mind to bring the ball round under the sticks. With not one Bosworth hand touching a Stamford jersey it was as clean a training ground move as you are likely to see on a rugby field.
The conversion was missed but the lead was two scores again. The Stamford pack continued to carry hard and the backs showed threat in the midfield through Schwarz and Fletcher hitting strong and direct lines. The ball was moved wide at every opportunity, but to Albinson’s delight it was moved with real purpose and precision.
Stamford kicked a penalty to the corner. Their first maul was illegally brought down, earning the Bosworth blindside a yellow card, and then Stamford launched another driving maul which raced over on the right hand corner to leave Bruce Parker with a double on the day.
Stamford started the second half with lots of possession but no points.
With Stamford not opening the gap up Bosworth began to smell blood and the following 20 minutes was all blue and yellow. Smith and Taylor were harshly yellow carded and down to 13 men, with only five in the backline, Stamford defended resolutely but ill discipline at the breakdown and a lack of line speed further up the field led to them being camped on their line and finally succumbing to two late tries that Bosworth secured by playing simple one out rugby.
Overall, the final score line of 22 - 19 somewhat flattered a Bosworth side that did not offer a huge amount.
The bonus point win leaves them three points clear at the top of the division.
A stark contrast to last year when they found themselves 12th in the league by the end of October.