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Stamford Rugby Club's head coach Auz Schwarz on his side's Midlands 3 East (South) title triumph




Head coach Auz Schwarz felt the decision to award his Stamford side the Midlands 3 East (South) title was the ‘right and fair’ result.

The RFU agreed that with four games remaining the final placings should be calculated to ensure the promotion and relegation issues were still decided.

Stamford were joint top of the table with near neighbours Oakham when the coronavirus pandemic ended the season with four games remaining.

Oakham were 30-8 winners against Stamford in February.
Oakham were 30-8 winners against Stamford in February.

Oakham had twice beaten their derby rivals this season but a strong start to the campaign laid the foundations for Stamford’s title success.

They won seven of their opening eight league games while Oakham picked up five wins in that sequence before finishing the campaign on a 10-match victory streak.

Schwarz said: “We looked at the Irish and Scottish RFUs who both chose to null and void their seasons and we thought that England would do the same.

“It would have been such a shame because everyone has put so much hard work into the season and, to get four games from the end, it would have been a real disappointment.

“I think it was the right thing to do with a fair outcome. We’re not really too sure how they have worked it out, but we’ve been top for probably 80 per cent of the season. There’s only been about three weeks when we were second.

“We have consistently been in the top two so it’s the right and fair result.

“You will never keep everyone happy, but that’s just the nature of the beast when the season finishes early.”

It was Oakham who shattered Stamford’s unbeaten start with a 19-12 victory in the October meeting at the Showground.

The Oaks then ran out 30-8 winners in the return match at Stamford’s Hambleton Road ground in February to inflict the second of only three defeats this season on their hosts.

Schwarz added: “Unfortunately we lost twice to Oakham, home and away, and then at Spalding which is always a tough match.

“It was a game that arguably we shouldn’t have lost but we did so it’s only really Oakham who have beaten us twice.

“It just goes to show that a season isn’t won across two games but the whole
year.

“They were the better team in the second game, but there wasn’t anything in the first match.

“The nerves got to some of our young lads in the second game and it didn’t play out how we wanted it to and all credit to Oakham.

“It does demonstrate though that you have to pick points up in every game and not just the big ones.

“We picked up a few injuries after Christmas and one of our key players went away to New Zealand for a month.

“We were just starting to get a few boys back in and, for the last four games, we would have been pretty much at full strength again.”



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