Stamford are beaten by Mellish in the RFU Intermediate Cup
Stamford bowed out of the RFU Intermediate Cup after a 31-13 away defeat at Mellish on Saturday.
They had to make numerous changes to the side which had played the previous week for the trip to north Nottingham to face a home side who play in Midlands 3 East (North)
Early signs were promising as they had the upper hand and, following a break by Dave Martin, the home side infringed and Stamford kicked to the corner for a line out.
John Murphy won the ball and the pack drove over for Sam Hillary to make the touch-down which Oli Johnson converted for an early 7-0 lead.
Town were looking to move the attack wide and support the runner whereas Mellish used the more direct route with large forwards running straight ahead.
From one such move they worked their way to the line for a try.
The home side upped the pressure by kicking possession deep into the Stamford half and, from one line-out, they were able to drive over for a converted try to put them into a 12-7 lead.
Stamford tried to go back at them but when the ball was turned over Mellish kicked long to send them back.
Martin again ran out of defence but poor passing allowed the home side to regain the ball and clear the danger.
Town changed tactics and used close support play to take the ball well in the opponents 22 and, when Mellish conceded a string of penalties, the referee showed a yellow card and Harry Bentley kicked the penalty to make the half-time score 12-10.
The second half started with Stamford using the running power of Hillary and O’Shea to carry the ball and, when it was moved to James Green, the home side killed the ball at the ruck and Johnson stepped up to slot the penalty to give Town a one-point lead.
The response from Mellish was immediate as they controlled the ball, ran fast and hard and split the Stamford defence to score.
Stamford’s game started to go off plan at this point with passes not going to hand and too many penalties and, when they infringed at a ruck, Bentley was shown a yellow card and spent 10 minutes in the sin bin.
They rebuilt an attack which took them into the hosts 22 but a forward pass bought it to a halt.
Mellish by now had the upper hand and used the forwards again to drive over for another try to make it 24-13.
Injuries forced Stamford to re-organise but they could not get their game back on track and it was Mellish who scored in the closing minutes to make the final score 31-13.
Stamford know that a higher level of accuracy will be needed in future and that the penalty count must be lower to restrict the opposition’s scoring opportunities.
They play their first home league match of the Midlands 3 East (South) season on Saturday when Dunstablians are the visitors to Hambleton Road (3pm kick-off).
More by this authorJames Bedford