Stamford Town RFC18
Northampton BBOB 19
STAMFORD suffered their first home defeat for more than a year as early-season errors and the forward power of the visitors allowed Northampton BBOB to scrape a win by the narrowest of margins.
Town were pitted against a side who competed two leagues higher last season – Stamford having been promoted and BBOB dropping down from Midlands Two over the summer – and coming away with a loss bonus point was arguably a useful result even if it did little to quell the disappointment of an ambitious young side performing to their home crowd for the first time this year.
First blood was drawn by BBOB, capitalising on a basic Stamford error. After a successful Stamford line-out on their opponents’ 22m line, the ball was knocked on before a second phase could even be constructed. BBOB’s winger duly pounced on the ball and ran in from 60 metres to touch down under the posts.
Stamford soon returned to the BBOB line however, with Laurent Ross – shifting from the wing to scrum-half in the absence of the injured Bob Smith. He fed powerful lock James Ragg from the base of ruck to crash over and touch down.
Matt Albinson missed the conversion but soon added a penalty to put Town a point to the good at 8-7.
Both sides scored again before the break. Stamford’s points coming when Ross tapped a quick penalty to Jack Eifion-Jones and the flanker made one of several line-breaks to score under the posts. The conversion brought the lead back to Town once more, the score 15-14 before half-time.
Simple errors before a successful series of phases could be strung together turned out to be the order of the day for Stamford. Only for a period at the end of the first half following Eifion-Jones’s try and ten minutes at the start of the second did the side look like they might start to play the pace and width that had previously brought them such success.
Instead they were drawn into a tighter battle, one that played into the hands of the powerful BBOB pack. After a further three points off Albinson’s boot, the Northampton side forced a scrum five metres from the Stamford line. Their pack slowly forced Stamford backwards and the Number Eight scored a simple touch-down with insufficient time for Town to strike back.
Skipper Oli Story said: “We have some things to iron-out. The boys did really well in certain areas but we also know we played far below ourselves.
He added: ‘The result is a serious disappointment of course but we achieved a bonus point that may prove very useful in the business-end of the season. This league won’t be taken by one or two sides running away unbeaten like Midlands Four last year; there will be four or five clubs at the top who are beating each other by only a few points. It will be a fantastic contest and we can’t wait.”
Stamford visit Grimsby in the Lincolnshire Senior cup tomorrow.