Handling errors see Stamford suffer shock defeat at Spalding
Stamford travelled over to struggling Spalding with high hopes of continuing their winning form in the Midlands Two East North league; however tough conditions and a raft of changes disrupted their flow and saw Stamford beaten 25-15 in the derby match.
The good news for Stamford is their position at the top of the table remained intact thanks to Market Bosworth beating second place Dronfield.
The game started with Spalding kicking off with a strong wind behind them blowing directly up the pitch. Stamford gathered the kick off however they were almost immediately penalised for going off their feet at the ruck, gifting Spalding their first penalty in front of the sticks, converted for 3–0 after one minute.
At the first scrum Stamford demolished what appeared to be a big Spalding pack, this set the tone as Stamford continued with their smaller pack to out scrummage Spalding all day. Much to Spalding’s credit, they somehow managed to get the ball out and play from what was a difficult platform.
The next 20 minutes saw both Stamford’s and Spalding’s defence dominate with few inroads being made by either side. The difference between the sides was the poor discipline shown by Stamford, gifting Spalding a further 15 points in penalties throughout the half. Stamford were starting to get themselves in good positions but unfortunately too many unforced handling errors halted several attacks far too early allowing Spalding to clear their lines.
Stamford managed to score a well worked try with some strong running from the forwards in particular, Kristian Naylor, James Green and Bruce Parker all making strong line breaks, allowing the backs a good platform to work from, and execute a training ground move that saw Tom Dove show some good footwork to make the outside break rounding his opposite number followed by a good off-load that allowed Tom Lindley to dive over in the corner. The conversion was missed making the score 18-5 to the hosts at half-time.
Stamford turned round with the wind now behind their backs, still confident that they could over turn the 13 point deficit. The half started with Spalding showing poor discipline at the breakdown handing Stamford a penalty in front of the sticks, Stamford’s Laurent Ross stepped up and struck the ball between the posts to reduce the deficit.
The next 10 minutes saw Stamford really pick up the pace and dominate all areas of the park, with strong running from both forwards and backs with centres Chris Fletcher and captain Austin Schwarz making several line breaks to get in behind the gain line, however, yet again handling let them down in the last third of the pitch with unforced errors and knocking the ball on.
The next 10 minutes saw some even exchanges in the middle of the field with Spalding now being forced to run everything due to the strong wind.
On 62 minutes Stamford finally took one of their opportunities, following some good link play between the forwards and backs, scrum half Robbie Smith picked up from the base of the ruck, attacked the gain line, committed the defence, then threw a looping miss pass that found prop James Green on the wing, to race in from 20 yards out. Ross scored a fantastic touchline conversion to close the score to 18-15.
Stamford were back in the match but put an end to their pressure with poor handling.
The last play of the game saw Stamford deep in their own half and trying to keep hold of the ball, some good pressure from the Spalding defence saw a Stamford pass go to ground and a fly hack through from the Spalding winger to set up a short race to the line with Stamford’s Tom Lindley. The Spalding man won the foot race and the converted effort saw the final score read 25 – 15 to the hosts.
Next week see’s Stamford away to West Bridgeford, Stamford will need to get back to winning ways to stay top.