Stamford School 18 Oakham School 12
STAMFORD School produced a great second half fightback to defeat Oakham School on Saturday.
Oakham, at home, made the best start, moving the ball quickly and stretching the Stamford defence across the park. Stamford were uncharacteristically quiet and some pre-match tension possibly got the better of them as mistakes punctuated the early exchanges.
It was a major defensive mistake on 12 minutes that allowed the Oakham centre to round his man and send the winger over.
Minutes later another defensive lapse saw the Oakham backs capitalise and at 12-0 it looked very ugly indeed for the visitors.
But Stamford picked themselves up and despite never really finding any form they battled back, with skipper Louis Grimoldby popping over a penalty just before half time.
The second half was a different story. Great carrying from Owen Smith, Tom Gulland and Ethan Moss got Stamford marching forward and the pressure eventually told.
A penalty led to a driving maul which saw tight-head prop Moss crash over.
Straight from the restart Stamford were able to control the ball and dominate the break down. Will Bacon and Tom Wire made great inroads before Grimoldby was able to make a well-timed miss pass, giving winger Justin Bland a foot race that he wouldn’t lose to go into the corner. Grimoldby converted taking the score to 15-12.
Success in the set piece gave Stamford more control and half backs Tom Pritchard and Grimoldby again distributed effectively. A great scrum put Oakham under pressure and the resulting penalty made it 18-12.
There were a few tense moments as the clock ticked down but the Stamford defence, led brilliantly by Lewis Nettleton and Tom Gulland, held strong.
The team now press on to finish what could be a very successful season, having already beaten Oundle, Uppingham, Haileybury and Nottingham High School among others.
This is the first season in which Stamford School’s 1st XV, 16As and 15As have beaten Oakham, Oundle and Uppingham.
Coach David Laventure said: “The rugby wasn’t always pretty, but it was a great game for the supporters.
“There guys showed great character to come back like that away from home. Oakham always provide a very stern test of your credentials and the boys should be very, very happy.”