Stamford College Old Boys beat Thorney Rugby Club
Stamford College Old Boys got their new campaign off to a winning start with a 32-38 victory at Thorney Rugby Club in their first pre-season friendly on Saturday.
The coaches were particularly pleased to see six debutants pulling on the red and green – a testament to the club's summer recruitment drive.
The game started exactly how the College wanted. The received kick-off led to a storming run from first team debutant Frankie Nespoli, who beat several tacklers before finally being brought down.
The impetus was firmly in the favour of the visitors and, another new face in the form of Kristian Naylor, received the ball from a line-out on the halfway and barraged through six defenders before being stopped five metres out.
A handful of tight carriers around the breakdown eventually saw hooker Sam Duncan cross for the Old Boys’ opening try. Carl Brierley-Lewis converted the score to make it 0-7 to the visitors after a matter of minutes.
Shortly after, a Thorney penalty took the score to 3-7. The home side then showed some quick hands and straight running, earning them a converted try to make the score 10-7.
However, the Old Boys showed resilience, responding almost immediately.
A quick inside ball from fly-half Jamie Jenkins to the ever-present Nespoli put him through a gap before handing off two defenders to touch down. Brierley-Lewis added the honours to make it 10-14.
Straight from the following kick-off, a clever grubber into space from the College fly-half Jenkins once again found Nespoli, who won the 40-metre race, kicking on the ball, before picking it up and scoring under the posts to give Brierley-Lewis an easy conversion which made it 10-21 to the Old Boys.
The Old Boys’ dominance continued.
Josh Moverley - another debutant – shone in and around the ruck while flanker Sam Durman put in some monstrous tackles to retain possession.
Another barnstorming run by Naylor gifted Jenkins the ball on the five-metre line and put him through for the College’s fourth try to make it 10-26 to the Old Boys.
Full credit to Thorney, who did not give up.
Wearing down the Old Boys’ defence with some mazy running and slick offload play, they managed to find several holes and scored two quick tries late in the half, bringing the score to a tighter 20-26 at half-time.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first as a clinical line-out drill pushed Duncan over for his second try of the day.
Shortly afterwards, a scrum pick-up from scrum-half Alan Flanders set up Brierley-Lewis to use some fast feet to beat the opposition and score under the posts, before adding the extras that made it 20-38 to the visitors.
As injuries ravaged the Stamford side, thanks to the hard ground and passionate defending from the home side, Thorney scored two further tries in the second half to bring the score to 32-38 at full-time.
A special mention goes out to Stamford College Old Boys’ six debutants - Ryan Whitmore, Frankie Nespoli, Kristian Naylor, Chris Kaye, Josh Moverley and Chris Cunningham.
The Old Boys will return to pre-season friendly action this weekend as they welcome Aylestone Athletic to Stamford Welland Academy.