Stamford RUFC move joint top of Midlands 3 East (South) after victory at Rushden & Higham
Stamford produced a complete 15-man performance to continue their strong progress in Midlands 3 East (South) with victory at Rushden & Higham on Saturday.
The 14-38 victory moved them level on points with league leaders Stockwood Park after safely negotiating what is always a tricky away test.
It was Stamford who applied the early pressure and a series of phases took them into the opposition's half and, when awarded a penalty, they kicked for the corner, setting up an attacking line-out.
The ball was driven on by the forwards in a series of pick and go's and it was finally taken over by Lewis Nettelton for the opening try.
Rushden came straight back but their attacks were held out by some good Stamford defence and, when Robbie Smith kicked the ball back into their half, they conceded another penalty which Oli Johnson converted to give Town an 0-8 lead.
Again the home team came back, using their heavy runners to make ground. Stamford defence's was good but Rushden created an overlap to score a try in the corner.
Both teams were now fully committed to attack and this Stamford side do not need a second invitation when presented with an opportunity.
Tom Wire latched onto a loose ball and kicked it deep into Rushden territory and, when they conceded another penalty, Johnson slotted it over to take the score to 5-11.
The restart did not go the required 10 metres and Town opted for a scrum on the halfway line.
The home team were pushed back which allowed Dan Heard to pick up from number eight and go on one of his devastating runs.
He was eventually stopped just short of the line but off-loaded to James Staples to finish the move off.
The home team tried to run through the Stamford defence but again they were stopped and stripped of the ball which Town moved quickly to wing Dave Martin.
He sprinted upfield but was stopped short by the home defence and was injured in this move and was replaced by Joe McDonald to leave the half-time score at 5-16.
After the break Rushden attacked early again, using their forwards as the main point and Stamford were penalised.
They kicked the resulting penalty to make it 8-16 but it was Stamford who were now taking control of the game.
The forwards were dominating the scrums and line-outs and combining with the backs to create chances.
From one such scrum the ball was moved to Danny McFaden who scored a try to stretch the lead further.
It wasn’t long after that from a five metre scum Heard picked up and crashed over for another try which Johnson converted to make the score 11-28 which was also the bonus point winning try.
The home side rallied and came back with a multi phase attack but could not break the Stamford defence at any time.
Good tackling throughout the team meant Rushden were allowed only one penalty kick which took the score to 14-28.
Town continued to pressure and, when Wire found himself alone with the ball in his own half, he unexpectedly applied his considerable boot to the ball which the Rushden receiver knocked on to give Town another attacking scrum.
From this they moved the ball quickly through the hands in a classic three-quarters attack and put winger Harry Ayton in to score in the corner.
From the restart Town went back on the attack and another sweeping move saw them go the length of the pitch only for the final pass to be knocked on.
From the resulting scrum Stamford were awarded a penalty and opted for a line-out where James Green was driven over for the last try giving a final score of 14-38.
Stamford are back in action at Hambleton Road on Saturday when they host bottom-of-the-table St Neots (2.15pm kick-off).
It should see another exciting display of the open rugby that Town have been showing this season.
More by this authorJames Bedford