Returning players help College finish with a flourish
Stamford College ended their Midlands 4 East (South) campaign on a high with a 21-7 success over Brackley on Saturday.
It was only the second league win of the season for the Old Boys who last tasted success in Midlands 4 East (South) when they defeated Deepings in September.
Their side has been ravaged by injuries throughout the campaign, but they were able to welcome back Carl Walker, Alex Walker, Craig Darlington and Janus Strydom to Saturday’s squad against an organised Brackley side.
The returning players enabled College to take advantage of the roll-on, roll-off eight inter-changes rule in what was a hot day and perfect to suit the style of play for their back line.
College kicked off and with immediate effect took control of the game, staying in the opposition half.
Carl Walker turned the ball over and began to control the tempo of the game with some good carries from Barringer, Walker and Greenslade.
Bancroft then found some space and fed the ball to Brierley-Lewis who scored his 14th try of the season which Haydn Johns converted.
The restart saw Brackley sneak into the game and use their number eight and centres to crash the ball up the field, but big hits from Greenslade, Aled Pattinson and Alex Walker kept them out, giving Johns the chance to clear his lines.
The College setpiece was dominant throughout the afternoon, Walker with a 100 per cent record of hitting his man in the line and the pack as a unit controlled at scrum time which gave Callum Johns good clean ball to feed older brother Haydn.
It wasn’t long before College increased their lead when Fraser went on a run, bulldozing his way through the defence to find Haydn Johns in support.
He released Bancroft who exploited a gap to go one-on-one with the full back and side-step past him with Brierley-Lewis then converting.
Greenslade and Pattinson were unlucky on a couple of occasions as, when they found space and clear through, the referee blew his whistle to bring the play back which would have put the College side in a comfortable position at half-time.
Brackley had seemed to have got the journey out of their legs at the start of the second half, controlling the opening exchanges and were awarded a concerted try for their efforts.
Although a try was conceded, the College defence was strong and the red and green wall was hard to break down.
Dan Smith was forever a nuisance at the break down, causing Brackley all sorts of problems, while the heavy hits from Pattinson and the back row were quick to react to any threat Brackley had.
Brierley-Lewis left the game with a knee injury and the stoppage of play gave Brackley a chance to change their tactics, although the College team didn’t allow them to spoil the party as Haydn Johns was quick to react and run half the pitch to score and convert making the score 21-7.
College did have some standout performances from Callum Johns, Morgan, Flanders, Druman, Twose, Darlington and president Ray Bates who made his 1,497 appearance in the red and green jersey.
Stamford College would like to thank all their sponsors for their support this season and also their coaching staff for their input as they look forward to progressing as a club in the 2018/19 campaign.
Man-of-the-match: Haydn Johns.
College: Pickerill, Smith, C Walker, A Walker, Fraser, Morgan, Barringer, Pattinson, C Johns, H Johns, Druman, Bancroft, Greenslade, Flanders, Brierley-Lewis, Darlington, Twose, Bates, Durrant, Strydom.