Stamford College Old Boys are beaten by Northampton Men's Own in Midlands 4 East (South) clash
Stamford College Old Boys suffered their first Midlands 4 East (South) defeat of the season on Saturday when they were beaten comfortably 47-3 by a Northampton Men’s Own team who will be targeting a perfect home record this season.
The College players and coaches alike had spoken of how it would be naive to achieve an unbeaten season and that losses will always be part and parcel of the campaign.
With a few injured players not able to make the 92-mile round trip, the College were still able to take a full squad of 20 to face a Men’s Own side who had also made an unbeaten start to the campaign.
With weather conditions not yet seen this season, the College kicked off into the miserable torrential rain ridden sky and found themselves applying a great level of pressure on their opponents until they were able to clear their lines and give Old Boys back possession.
The next 15 minutes was all the possession and territory of Old Boys but, with a resilient, hard-hitting defence and poor weather conditions, they found it nigh impossible to get over the line.
To further the problems both centre Sam Durman and tighthead prop Carl Walker were forced to leave the pitch with a hamstring and hip injury respectively.
Substitutes Sam Duncan and Andrew Durrant came on and were part of the defensive effort that kept Northampton from crossing the line.
However, with a great home crowd spurring them on, Men’s Own were able to cross for three converted tries in quick succession of each other.
Eager to right their wrongs, the College set out with the eagerness to get points on the board and that came in the form of what was unfortunately to be Stamford’s only points of the game from the boot of Johns from a ruck infringement.
College then started to get a foothold in the game, pressuring the home team with the game plan that has been in place and used so effectively during previous games in the season.
Men’s Own were then penalised in the form of a yellow card for a no arms tackle - it was time for the College to step up a gear and make the most of the man extra advantage.
However, as the slippery ball was lost forward, the whistle was blown for half-time and the momentum was lost with Men’s Own leading 21-3.
The kick-off for the second half saw College immediately have strong running and heavy duty carrying to deal with for phase after gruelling phase.
That was until a chink in the College chain came loose and Men’s Own found themselves with a numerical advantage on the blindside.
From this they were able to dot the ball over for the bonus point score with the conversion to match making the score 28-3.
Back up to the full 15 after the sin binning and the Old Boys were really beginning to struggle with keeping hold of possession.
With a line-out that was struggling to function properly a ball was overthrown and slipped tackles allowed the home team over the line again.
An almighty cheer from the home crowd as the conversion was slotted through from a tight angle with a swirling wind that helped edge the ball over the posts.
With the score now 35-3, the College were staying true to their phrase ‘never a backwards step’ and carried on playing as if the score was 0-0.
However, it was just not meant to be their day with awful conditions and some controversial penalty decisions, as they unfortunately shipped another two tries, of which one was converted to make the final score 47-3.
Every effort had been made in the game from numbers one through to 20, however, College were just missing that definitive spark.
They were beaten by a team who will be hungry for promotion after missing out last season by the smallest of margins.
College will definitely have some learning to do in training to right those little wrongs before they host Thorney in their next league game on November 16.
College: S Pickerill, M Harker, C Walker, A Walker, C Steele, J Twose, B Morgan, C Fraser, S Gamble, H Johns, S Durman, O Sherwin, J Chapman, T Rodrigues, L Greenslade. Subs: S Duncan, T Houston, P Wright, A Durrant, C Shepherd.