Stamford College Old Boys defeat Deepings in Midlands 4 East (South) derby duel
Stamford College Old Boys claimed a derby double over Deepings after a 31-5 victory in Saturday's Midlands 4 East (South) clash at Welland Academy.
The victory halted a run of three successive league losses as their strong squad followed up the 29-17 win in October's reverse fixture to complete a domestic double.
Deepings kicked off with a strong wind behind them and were looking to apply pressure straight away.
Cool and calmly the College were able to battle their way up the pitch and make good yards.
Some robust, hard running from the likes of Pickerill, Twose and Steele made good ground and some excellent clear outs meant that Gamble had quick clean ball to deliver to the backs.
A string of three penalties on the bounce against the visitors allowed Johns to pin the ball down deep in the Deepings half.
College were looking to find their feet and that elusive finishing touch, however, were made to work for it at the breakdown.
Although commanding such great field position and possession it was clear the visitors were not there to make up the numbers.
The College pack were working overtime by securing the ball and trying to get a glimpse of the first score.
It eventually came when the forwards had sucked in an appropriate amount of players to the breakdown to make a big overlap.
The ball was fed out to Johns, who like many times before this season, curved his run to perfection as he drifted through the centres to go over for his first try of the game.
He came agonisingly close to adding his own extra points, however, against the cruellest of winds could only watch as his kick bounced off the post.
It was certainly a positive start for the College who were looking to bury themselves deep into the visitors half once again and keep that momentum rolling on.
However, Deepings had woken up now and wanted to play some attacking rugby themselves.
The next five minutes showed some simple yet excellent rugby for the neutrals with both teams jostling for the advantage.
A brief glimpse of scrappy play from the College meant that Deepings had found themselves 15 metres out underneath the home side's posts.
They won their own feed at the scrum and attacked from deep with real venom, but some excellent tackling from Durman, Houston and Rodrigues meant that they were not to cross just yet.
However, some lazy defending from the College pack to get back and form the line, meant a dog leg in the defence so the visitors could pinpoint exactly where to attack and they got their first try of the day.
Although questionably held up from Sam Duncan, the referee deemed he had seen enough evidence to award the try.
A simple conversion under the post went begging and the score was poised at 5-5 with only five minutes of the half remaining.
Keen to go into half-time with the lead, the College immediately won a penalty from kick off and opted to stick it into the corner and use their very effective catch-and-drive routine.
An excellent kick from Johns managed to get the College pack to within 10 metres and, with the referee announcing the last play of the half, the line-out ball was won and Old Boys began marching up the line.
The ball was expertly recycled through almost every set of hands before it found its way to the try line and, among the cloud of players, it was Dan Smith who managed to get it down for the second Stamford College try of the day.
Another difficult kick for Johns' conversion meant that this time the added points bounced off the crossbar for a 10-5 interval lead.
After a half made significantly more difficult with the wind, the College were sat in a decent position.
However, as had been noted on the sidelines, the boys were told that Stamford were letting Deepings into the game with their own silly mistakes.
A few changes were rung as Tom Heath came on for Sam Duncan in the front row, Carl Walker - who is getting fitter and fitter after injury - replaced Chris Steele in the second row and the ever reliable veteran Phil Young came on in place of Houston, meaning Rodrigues moved out to the wing.
Looking to use the wind to their advantage this half, the College wanted to pressurise the faltering Deepings setpiece.
Some cannoning runs from both Alex and Carl Walker with the rest of the pack in tow gave a good platform for Johns to release Flanders and Rodrigues on the wings and the ever-dangerous Brierley-Lewis from deep, however, the visitors' defence remained resilient.
Through all the pressure there was to be a try as Fraser took a crash pass from Gamble and managed to get over the line.
Unfortunately, the referee had deemed a double movement at the try line and denied the score.
Keeping the burning pressure up and winning a breakdown on the 22m line, a moment of madness saw a Deepings player throw a fist in the direction of Alex Walker, to the dismay of the visiting fans. It was right under the eyes of the referee and the hooker was sent off.
The referee was not done there though as he then pinned his attention on Flanders who was seen defending Walker.
However his actions, although disruptive, were not quite as serious and earned him 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
With 14-a-side for the next 10 minutes, the Stamford pack were looking to capitalise.
Big carries from the forwards had allowed Stamford College again premium position on the pitch with phase after phase which Deepings defended well
However, similar to the disallowed try moments before, it was Fraser who took a crash ball to bundle over the line for well-deserved points from well-deserved pressure.
With the wind coming through behind his back, Johns added the extra points to stretch the lead out to 17-5.
With the sin bin period over, College elected to bring the fresh legs of Durrant on for Flanders.
Now up to a full compliment of 15 players again, they went up another gear with thundering carries from Carl Walker, Tom Heath and Max Harker alongside pirouetting, mazy runs from Twose and Young almost meant the visitors were unable to keep up with the game.
However, Deepings were still managing to make those vital tackles that were denying Old Boys the killer finish.
That was until Johns, with nothing really happening in the middle of the park, delicately chipped the ball over for Brierley-Lewis to chase.
Although just missing out to the winger, he was able to make an excellent tackle forcing the ball to be spilled which was collected by Johns who will not score easier points this season.
He managed to dot the ball down under the posts, allowing for an easy conversion of which he added the points himself, much to the applause of the large crowd that had came down to support.
With 10 minutes left on the clock and the bonus point score already achieved, the home side were not finished yet and looked to accumulate as many points as possible.
Heaps of Stamford pressure kept Deepings pinned back in their own 22m line and, with such a strong wind, kicking was not an option.
Excellent line speed and great pressure forced the Deepings into playing with the ball close in hand.
However, in their desperation to keep the ball, they were found guilty by the referee of holding on to it at the ruck.
And, after a brief tantrum, the officials' patienceran out as he marched the visitors back a further 10 yards.
The College, who had been dominant in both aspects of setpiece, opted to take the scrum and after winning their own feed it was steadied.
Fraser was on hand to take the ball from the base of the scrum as he smashed through a tackle and went over for his second score of the day.
An easy conversion under the posts brought about the 30-point mark to make the score 31-5.
Having received kick off the home side were eager for more and looked to spin the ball wide quickly.
However, a debatable forward pass was called and the visitors had the chance to have the last say.
By this point the referee had called the last play and, as they won their own ball, a rogue attempt from a centre failed as his solo chip and chase flew straight into touch.
Old Boys now turn their attention to the NLD Vase semi-final this weekend as they travel up to Bingham in what is shaping up to be a great contest between the sides.
Old Boys: S Pickerill, S Duncan, M Harker, C Steele, A Walker, D Smith, J Twose, C Fraser, S Gamble, H Johns, S Durman, T Rodrigues, A Flanders, T Houston, C Brierley-Lewis. Subs: C Walker, T Heath, A Durrant, P Young.
More by this authorJames Bedford