Showdown at Oakham Showground

SRUFC's Mike Allen on his way to scoring the match clinching try vs Oakham. EMN-140605-173514001
SRUFC's Mike Allen on his way to scoring the match clinching try vs Oakham. EMN-140605-173514001
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Stamford RFC’s league season may have been over before last Saturday but there was no lack of competitive edge as they took on Oakham for the third and decisive time this season at the club’s President’s Day.

The purple black and whites ran out winners in what was an end-to-end affair for much of the 80 minutes.

The game was played in front of near on 500 spectators, most of which had watched three previous games involving Oakham’s Vets, Seconds and Colts XVs.

Both sides tried to play open rugby and all bar three of the 77 points scored between them were notched up via tries and conversions; testament to the manner in which the game was played.

Both sides looked to play quickly and with width but it was Stamford who looked the more threatening in the wider channels with Michael Allen, Laurent Ross and Craig Felston posing problems with their speed and quick feet.

Michael Allen went on to score four tries during the afternoon, including the final try to snatch a 41- 36 victory from the black and golds.

The Stamford pack played with grit and determination, carrying the ball hard to the gain line and working well at the breakdown to generate clean ball for half backs Robbie Smith and Matt Albinson to launch attacks at will.

Oakham pushed the Stamford pack about in the first 20 minutes but after a stern word from Stamford lock Alan O’Connor and the introduction of Ben Edwards into the fray, the Stamford eight began to not only hold their own but win ball on their own terms, leaving Smith time and space from which to attack the short side or move the ball from the base to the backline.

Although the result will be a bitter pill for Oakham to swallow, the game itself was a fitting finale to rugby at the Showground and Stamford look forward to the away trip to Oakham next season and the experience of playing at Oakham’s new home on the edge of the town.

The fixture on Saturday was the first senior game since the news of the accident involving Sebastian Goold three weeks ago.

The 1st XV captain Matt Albinson, chairman Neil Jolly and 1st XV players dedicated the performance on Saturday to Seb and his family. Everyone involved with the 1st XV continues to wish him and his family all the best at this difficult time.