Old Boys veteran Bates moves closer to milestone appearance mark
Stamford College Old Boys veteran Ray Bates moved a step closer to a milestone appearance mark in their 40-5 friendly win over Corby at the weekend.
Bates, who has been part of the club since its formation in 1974, made his 1,491st appearance in the red and green colours.
College fielded a much-changed squad for the away match that was played with uncontested scrums.
The visitors began on the front foot and made some inroads into the Corby half.
Fly-half Phil Young was commanding his backs and it wasn’t long before Haydn Johns scored in the corner following a nice backs move. Brierley-Lewis and Durrant drew the defence in to release Johns who did miss the conversion.
Corby restarted the game, but it didn’t take long for College to get deep inside the home 22 with a good run seeing Dan Smith touch down and Johns converting the try.
The Stamford side then let their guard down and began to switch off, allowing Corby into the game and losing their momentum going forward.
The College defence held strong and didn’t allow Corby to cross the line with big hits from Barringer, Fraser and Houston.
College had the fair share of the possession in the second half and spending the majority of it camped in the opposition 22.
Smith crossed the line with a forwards effort using a driving maul to their advantage which Johns converted.
The restart saw Bates use his experience and catch a ball, turn and off-load to Sheppard who gained some metres before being brought down.
A lapse in concentration caused Corby to take advantage of a loose ball and they reduced the arrears with their only try of the game.
College responded and some good runs from Pickerill and Barringer gave them the platform to run their patterns.
It wasn’t long before Brierley-Lewis exploited a gap and scored his sevenh try of the season with Johns converting for a 26-5 lead.
Johns scored his second try of the game when he ran through the on-rushing defence to score under the posts before adding the conversion.
College capped off a fine team performance when Aled Pattinson crossed over at the back of a driving maul from a well-worked line out.
College: Walker, Bates, Pickerill, Sheppard, Fraser, Barringer, Smith, Pattinson, C Johns, Young, Sam, Durrant,Brierley-Lewis, Houston, H Johns.