Stamford defeat Northampton BBOB in Midlands 3 East (South) clash
Stamford produced a workmanlike performance as they defied a number of changes to their line-up to register a 17-24 victory at Northampton BBOB on Saturday.
Despite not having a fixture last week which seemed to have stuttered their momentum, they still came away with the full five points to remain top of Midlands 3 East (South).
The home side started with pace and power that did not reflect their position near the bottom of the league.
They hit Stamford with aggressive ball carriers’ and good support runners which Town initially struggled to cope with and it was no surprise when Old Boys took an early lead with a converted try.
This seemed to shake Stamford out of their slow start and they hit back with a long range passing move using Ramsden as principle carrier and Robbie Smith as distributor which opened up the home defence for Harry Bentley to go over for a try which bought the score back to 7-5.
From the restart Stamford took the ball on with Joe McDonald in charge but at the subsequent ruck they lost hooker Fergal McNamara with an ankle injury with Ben Murphy coming on as the replacement.
Northampton came back strongly after the restart and a converted penalty increased their lead as Stamford were unlucky to lose Bentley with another ankle injury and he was replaced by Auz Schwarz.
Town switched their attacks out wide using the back three of Martin, Burns and Staples but the line outs seemed to be going astray when the ball was in touch and ground was lost.
However, it was the back three who combined again and when Burns was released down the right he had the pace to beat the defenders for a try that levelled the score.
The Old Boys refused to let their heads drop and combined well to stretch Town but the reliable Stamford defence shut them out.
And when it was their turn to attack a good sweeping move allowed Jack Jones over for a try which Burns converted to give a half-time score of 10-17.
The second half got stuck in a trench warfare mode, both teams trying to make use of their possession but a lot of small errors meant a period of stalemate.
The referee decided to fully discuss the reason for every stoppage which meant the game lost momentum and didn’t flow.
Town lost Thain for 10 minutes when he received a yellow card and while he was off BBOB took advantage of the extra man to score a converted try which again levelled the score.
Some choice words to the team from skipper Smith saw Stamford up their game and produce some long range attacks.
One of these resulted in a line out that was driven hard and the ball was moved to Mike Kendall to crash over in the corner for a try.
Although it was from the touchline Burns slotted the conversion perfectly to make the final score 17-24 and give Stamford the bonus point they had been striving for.
The much-awaited local derby with old rivals Oakham is next on the agenda this Saturday which, with Stamford top and the Rutland side second, could well be the match of the season. Kick-off is 2.15pm and a large crowd is expected for what should be a cracking contest.
More by this authorJames Bedford