Injuries hurt Stamford’s cause
Stamford’s hope of a winning boost brought on by a change in coaches has not come to fruition as the relegation threatened side lost 40-13 away at Nottingham Casuals on Saturday.
It was Stamford’s first league loss to Casuals and drops them down to second from bottom of Midlands Two East North, just a point above Ashby.
Last week the club announced former first team captain Matt Albinson and coach David Laventure had replace Stef Arlow at the reins of the first team.
A statement from the club said: “Stamford RUFC is a constantly evolving, forward thinking club that is always on the lookout for the very best resources that are available to their players. Stef Arlow did a fantastic job for the First XV during his spell at the club, especially utilising his in-depth knowledge of strength and conditioning.
“The club’s committee, however, have unfortunately had to make the tough decision to release Stef, in order to create what they believe will be a more fitting partnership, that will fulfil their current needs.
SRUFC President Neil Jolly said “I would like to publicly thank Stef on behalf the club as a whole, for his efforts and commitment during his time with us. We wish him all the best with his coaching career in the future.”
So looking for a new start Stamford started well on Saturday and Will Mardling, taking over the kicking duties this week open the scoring when the hosts gave away a penalty in range.
With Stamford’s Laurent Ross creating pace in the backs; Chris Fletcher, Austin Schwarz , Will Mardling, Guy Michels and James O’Shea were breaking the Casuals’ line at will. Michels eventually crossed the line, only for the try to be disallowed by the referee, determining the last pass from Mardling was forward.
Stamford were on top but did not have the points to show for it. Five minutes before the break Casuals were caught offside and Mardling made it 6-0 at the half way mark.
Stamford had the perfect start to the second period. Michels took a deep kick and ran the ball back with intent.
A couple of phases later Gareth Ramsden opened up the Casuals’ defence, leaving a two-on-one with the fullback. Ramsden fed scrum half Robbie Smith to canter in under the post unopposed, Mardling added the conversion. Stamford were now leading 13-0, but it was their last score of the match. Within two minutes, fly half Laurent Ross had to leave the field due to an injury, which was an untimely blow to the Stamford side.
Following a re-shuffle, Mardling filled the vacant 10 spot and substitute Reece Burns joined on the wing. Casuals responded with a try of their own after Stamford spilled the ball in the mid field. Casuals broke out wide and some good hands saw their winger slip two tackles and score in the corner.
Stamford’s full back Guy Michels managed to sustain an injury trying to defend the try, forcing him off the pitch prompting yet another re-shuffle. Veteran Russ Morley came off the bench into the pack, affording no 8 Dan Griffin a move out on to the wing.
This caused all sorts of issues and heads were visibly dropping knowing that the task ahead without Ross and Michels would be a formidable one.
Casuals, now with their tales up, caused the Stamford defence a few issues and it wasn’t long before they ran in another try under the posts, adding an easy conversation.
With the scoreline at 13- 12 to Stamford, the next 10 minutes saw a nail biting exchange from both sides, with Casuals having several attempts at goal. Fortunately for Stamford, the Casuals fly half was having a bad day with his boot and was unable to score from several penalty attempts.
This wouldn’t make any difference over the next 15, as Casuals were able to run in four unanswered tries.
Stamford First XV have a break this weekend, their next league game is away at West Bridegford on March 21.