Stamford 11 Biggleswade 10
STAMFORD Town left it late to beat league leaders Biggleswade and keep their own title hopes on track on Saturday.
Town’s players and fans breathed a huge sigh of relief as full back Guy Michels cleared the ball into touch and the referee ended a nail-biting top-of-the-table clash.
Stamford remain second behind Biggleswade after Saturday’s 11-10 victory but have played a game less than their rivals and are still unbeaten – but captain Oli Storey was a relieved man.
He said: “We panicked at times and made too many errors. I guess the pressure got to us a bit. Sometimes you have to win ugly.”
The game started poorly for the home side as errors started to mount in dreadful conditions. Both sides missed early penalties but it was Biggleswade who opened the scoring with a try in the corner following a rare Stamford lapse in concentration.
The home side bounced back well however and through the industry of Bruce Parker, Jack Eifion-Jones and Cam Park they were able to drive their way back into the contest, gaining territory in the process.
A great counter attack from Michels allowed fly-half Albinson to put centre Lindley through the gap. Albinson then popped the ball into the corner following a second penalty and it was left to Adam Rimmer to control the ball at the back of a great driving maul to pull the score back to 5-5.
The half came to an unsavoury end as a serious injury ended the game for loosehead Liam Tate who was enjoying a fine contest.
The second half started the brighter for the home side. They continued to play with width and pace but unforced errors mounted as the pressure told. Another error allowed Biggleswade to dive over in the corner following poor fielding of a high ball.
Again Stamford forced their way back into the game. Great scrummaging from Simon Stenning and Ed Hagget-King won two balls and scrum-half Ross proved too troublesome for the visiting number eight and eventually the pressure told and Albinson popped over a penalty to make it 10-8.
Further pressure and penalties mounted up, resulting in a yellow card that allowed Stamford to continue to win ground.
As the clock started to run down, great driving play from the pack and Will MacMillan brought a further penalty and with less than three minutes remaining Albinson slotted the three.
One last counter attack from Biggleswade fell short much to the relief of a jubilant home crowd.
Stamford coach David Laventure praised his side, saying: “As a squad, I do not think any of us will be happy with the performance but ultimately the final score was all that mattered.
“The conditions didn’t favour us so sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and get the job done.
“We have lots to do but this means the momentum is still with us.”