Bourne ended 2017 on a high, finally finishing the right side of a local derby, after a 30-10 victory at Stamford College Old Boys on Saturday.
Having recently lost two games in a short period of time to rivals Deeping, Bourne made the short trip to Stamford wary that the form book often gets torn up for games of such nature.
Stamford, benefitting from being at home and the support of a decent crowd, started with real intent and quickly drove the Bourne defence backwards. The visitors didn’t look ready and early missed tackles put them under unnecessary pressure.
Although the visitors conceded an early penalty and slipped behind 3-0, the break in play seemed a welcome chance to regroup and from the restart they quickly upped their efforts.
Props Chris Greenwood and Chris Wheeler played their parts with some hard work around the breakdown. but it was the back row of Adam Binns, skipper Tom Dixon and man of the match Sion Williams, recently converted from the centres, who stood out.
Against the wind on a narrow pitch the Bourne pack worked hard to maintain possession and, although yards were hard to come by, their effective recycling gave the backs a good platform and it was here that the away side made significant progress.
Having worked their way upfield with some well-built phases, Bourne eventually shipped the ball to the right wing where the in-form Jack Lagdon stepped inside two men to finish some simple rugby. Scrum-half Evison added the conversion and Bourne had a slender lead.
It wasn’t long though before the home team went back in front. Bourne were deemed to have lost their discipline after scoring their opening try and Stamford were awarded a penalty to restart the game.
Kicking long into the corner they attempted to roll a maul. Having failed once they were awarded another penalty and this time they came away with the result they wanted as the pack drove over and grounded the ball.
With the conversion added, it was the home team’s turn to have a narrow 10-7 lead.
With the first half fading away, the game was clearly in the balance. Bourne still had something special up their sleeve though and, having worked their way into the Stamford half, they continued to pile the pressure on the home side.
Stamford failed to make touch with a clearance kick which Bourne full-back Jack Berry gathered on the halfway line.
Berry threw a long pass infield to lock Andrew Brown who launched another long pass to Dave Maudsley in the midfield.
Maudsley made yards before cutting through the first line of defenders and feeding Dixon who angled back against the remaining defenders to touch down. Evison added the extras once again and Bourne turned round 14-10 up.
Bourne started the second half the fresher side and Evison soon slotted a penalty to take the visitors a converted try ahead.
Getting plenty of decent ball the Bourne backs soon started to dominate going forward, mixing their points of attack they had their opponents guessing as to what would happen next.
Having shipped the ball wide a number of times, fly-half Maudsley then hit centre Sam Harby at close range.
Harby initially found plenty of space and even when this disappeared he was able to shrug off a number of defenders as he got closer and closer to the line.
Eventually pulled down just yards short the Bourne pack in close support set a ruck which Stamford somehow seemed destined to disrupt. The ball however shot out of the side and appeared at the feet of Lagdon holding his position out on the wing. Lagdon, unable to believe his luck, gathered the ball and dropped over the line for his second try.
Evison missed the conversion but Bourne were now benefitting a 12-point margin.
Bourne continued to grow into the game and on their bigger home pitch might well have racked up a number of tries but they were restricted by the smaller dimensions of the Stamford pitch and some die-hard defence from their hosts.
Pinned in their own half Stamford conceded a number of penalties and eventually they were punished when Bourne opted for the points and Evison added another three.
Although the win seemed a forgone conclusion Bourne didn’t seem content and were almost desperate for more points before the game ended.
From a scrum at the last play of the game the backs ran a move with Maudsley throwing a wide pass to get Berry running at the last defender with Lagdon outside him poised for his hat-trick. Lagdon however needlessly cut inside and met the cover defence.
In their desperation to thwart Bourne’s final attack, Stamford slipped up at the ruck and gave away another penalty.
Berry reacted quicker than anyone and taking it quickly crossed from five metres out despite the attention of a number of Stamford players.
With Evison missing the conversion, the game finished with Bourne worthy 30-10 winners.
Player-coach Maudsley commented: “Credit to Stamford, they were as good a side as we’ve played this year.
“I know they have a number of players missing and that can be the only reason they aren’t higher in the league.”
Bourne: Wheeler, Appleby, Greenwood, Cooke, Brown, Williams, Binns, Dixon, Evison, Maudsley, Venables, Harby, Lynch, Lagdon, Berry. Reserves: Thornburn, Mambey, A Smith, Roberts, Holden.