First half try treble seals win for victorious Veterans
Three first half tries sealed a rare 17-10 away victory for Stamford against rivals Oundle Buzzards in the newly-formed local veterans league.
Oundle kicked off with the wind at their backs, looking to add to a series of home wins against a Stamford side with several new recruits.
The Stamford forwards gathered and rumbled their way up field with good carries from Darrin Hall and Toby Linley, linking up to make good yards in several phases before scrum half Steve Roberts span the ball out to debutant stand-off Jeremy Fisher.
The ball was then released through the three-quarters before reaching Neil Fyffe at full-back, breaking two tackles to go over in the corner after just three minutes of play, converted by Roberts for a welcome 7-0 start.
Ten minutes of forward play followed until full back Fyffe again crossed the gain line in the corner after a neat one-two with winger Ali Hands to make the score 12-0.
From the restart, a determined Oundle pack then marched the ball upfield towards Stamford’s try line, the resolute defence survived a sustained assault on their lines for a further 10 minutes before conceding a scrummage on the five metre line.
The number eight peeled off on the blindside and fed flanker Tony Hull who wasn’t going to be kept out from two metres, wrestling over the line for an unconverted try.
Unperturbed, the visitors found themselves once again defending on the back foot.
Oundle pressed towards the Stamford 22, but a fumble presented wing forward Steve Jordan with an opportunistic break, setting up a rangy run from joint captains Jake Wilkins and Darren Bently.
Stamford played to their strengths and continued upfield through phase play, which saw the ball fed out to the centre partnership of Pip Warters and Rory Todd, who set off on an outrageous, mazy run up the left wing.
Running out of space due to some excellent cover tackles from an outmanoeuvred defence, the ball eventually found another first time player, Dave Breslin, who managed to keep it alive and in play before popping it back inside to the reset back line.
The ball made its way back and forth through five more pairs of hands at close range, before Fyffe slotted the ball back to Warters on his right shoulder, diving over for a third Stamford score.
Oundle rallied hard but couldn’t muster another point, despite finding themselves once again scrummaging on the Stamford’s five metre line.
With a combined age of more than 150, the experienced Stamford front row managed to hook the ball against the head and an audacious pick and go from Stamford number eight Lindley saw several phases of forward play and a 90 metre return.
With the three-quarters screaming for ball with a two-man overlap, every man drew his opposite number allowing Fyffe to go over in the corner once again, only to be denied by what was deemed to be a forward pass.
The second half was a scrappy affair.
Handling errors from both teams and try stopping tackles from Stamford’s Steve Wilson, Craig Durrans and Neil Fyffe meant the only score was too little, too late for beleaguered Oundle.
A well worked backs move sent the Oundle full back crashing over with just seven minutes to go.