NLD SHIELD SEMI-FINAL: Bourne find form to reach final with Stamford win
Bourne have a golden chance to end the season with silverware after a heroic win over Stamford College Old Boys in their NLD Shield semi-final at Milking Nook Drove.
Not even try against them, in the dying moments of the first half, were going to deny the home side what was their first win in 2017.
The odds were stacked against player-coach Dave Maudsley and his side, despite lying above Old Boys in the Midlands Four East (South) table.
Injuries to Ben Keast and Sam Thornburn, with a torn ankle ligament and broken jaw respectively, were added to by the unwanted absences of Harley Giullari and Ed Hounsell.
But there were no signs of a weakened Bourne when the game kicked off, with strong winds, occasional rain and a muddy picture making ball-handling a lottery.
Old Boys almost forced their way over for a try after a rolling maul, but the Bourne defence held firm as they would do for almost the entire game.
But in first half stoppage time, Old Boys’ Dan Thompson gathered a hand-off from a scrum and swerved inside Bourne full back Jack Berry to go over the try line.
The fact that Carl Brierley failed to land the conversion, leaving Bourne 5-0 down at the break, didn’t soften the blow of the home side not being able to stop the visitors from scoring in the first half.
But instead of letting their heads drop, Bourne roared back with a combination of defensive domination and determined discipline which rattled their opponents.
Up stepped Bourne fly half Sam Evison, playing only his second game in the blue and yellow, who put an early second half penalty miss behind him to land two more difficult kicks after Old Boys were penalised for not releasing.
The second penalty, which hit the crossbar and went over, was the cue for the winning converted try for Bourne winger Donald Sweeting who was released into a one-on-one situation by Maudsley to speed into the end zone.
Evison’s conversion gave Bourne a crucial eight-point cushion which they never looked like surrendering - and didn’t as the kicker took his side to the NLD Shield final in Derbyshire at the end of April.
BOURNE: Wheeler, Thornburn, Gill, Hiscocks, Douglas, Dixon, Binns, Brown; Maudsley, Evison, Sweeting, Harby, Charlton, Bentley, Berry. Replacements: Appleby, Lindley, Lynch, Mamby, Rushton.
STAMFORD COB: Pickerill, Hickman, Walker, Patterson, Thompson. A, Smith, Twose, Barringer; John, Young, Strydom, Jenkins, Brierley-Lewis, Greenslade, Thompson. D. Replacements: Pressell, Durrant, Jones, Gamble, Flanders.
Tries: Sweeting (Bourne), Thompson (Stamford COB).
Penalties: Evison x 2 (Bourne).