Joe’s five-try haul helps to secure first league win of the season
Stamford’s wait for their first Midlands 2 East (South) win of the season is finally over after an emphatic 61-5 success over Pinley on Saturday.
The purple, black and whites fielded their strongest side of the season to date as Joe McDonnell marked his second Stamford appearance with a five-try haul to the delight of head coach Matt Albinson.
Albinson said: “You could argue that we fielded our strongest side of the season, but the boys trained really well in the week and delivered on game day.
“Okay, it was against fellow strugglers Pinley, and if we are to demonstrate that we can rise up the league moving forwards then we need to back it up against stronger sides.
“I was really pleased for Joe McDonnell. He was exceptional on the right wing. He has only played twice for us and to have him cross the line five times is testament to the way the boys played the game on Saturday.
“We asked them to move the ball and find the space and they did exactly that.
“This has served as a catalyst for the next two weeks as we build towards league games against the early pacesetters.”
The entire game was dominated by Stamford in attack.
The first half saw some hard yards from the forward back supported by good link play by the midfield and excellent finishing from the three quarters of Fletcher, McDonnell and Hill.
Ash Hill was a revelation at 13 and put the purple, black and whites on the front foot at every opportunity with his direct attack of the gain line.
At the turn around Albinson joined his players to reflect on proceedings. An upbeat critique of the play so far concluded in one main area of focus for the team – up the tempo.
Albeit that the game looked as though it had been won at 27-5, with the hill to come, there was statement to be made to the rest of the league and further fun to be had.
With Ben Murphy and Tom Wire introduced to the pack, Stamford were able to provide James Green with his first rest in eight years, having never been substituted from a First XV game.
Bar a brief spell of Pinley possession following half-time, the second period belonged to a wave of Stamford attacks that resulted in a further 34 points being scored and McDonnell scorching in for a tally of five tries.
The scoreboard reflected a much improved performance in attack and pleasingly a scoreline that was on or just above par when compared with how fellow league sides have gone against the Coventry-based team.
Stamford travel to face second-placed Market Harborough on Saturday before hosting Stewart & Lloyds on December 9.
Albinson added: “For now we shall go back to the training ground and work hard on our execution.
“The boys have three more games before Christmas and we are excited about the challenge ahead.”
Much to Albinson’s disappointment though is that noted absences still exist for the purple, black and whites.
Skipper Bruce Parker is out long term with a foot injury, as is Daniel Griffin who has had a reoccurrence of a shoulder problem from last season. Both will be lucky to see any game time this season.
Tries: McDonnell 5, F. Hill 2, A. Hill 2, Fletcher 1, Polson 1. Cons: Jones 2, McDowall, Albinson.