Head coach leaves Town in a strong position to progress next season
Stamford missed out on giving head coach Matt Albinson a winning farewell after a 34-10 defeat in Monday’s Linconshire Senior Cup final against Lincoln.
Albinson is stepping down after 25 years with the Hambleton Road club in both a playing and coaching capacity and had hoped to add a silver lining to his final game.
However, Lincoln – who play a level above Stamford and also had the benefit of home advantage for the final – proved too strong as they gained revenge for being knocked out of the NLD Cup earlier in the season by Albinson’s aces.
Stamford started well and some good individual runs led by Dan Heard were met by a well organised home defence.
When it was their turn to defend Town stood strong in the tackle as neither side was able to take control despite good handling moves that stretched play into the wide areas.
When Stamford were penalised for a high tackle, Lincoln kicked deep into the 22 and from the resulting line out they drove over the line for a try which they then converted.
Stamford hit back from the restart when they were awarded a penalty and employed the same tactic but, despite a good drive, they were held up on the line and Lincoln cleared the ball as far as James O’Shea who ran hard and strong straight back at them but was unable to break their line.
Following a close fought passage of play the hosts kicked long and their speedy winger chased and managed to ground the ball for a try which gave them a 12-0 lead.
Stamford were still very much in the game and good forward play saw them attack from close range but they were unable to get the try they needed and the score remained at 12-0 at half-time.
Town continued to use the forwards well in the second half with George Nairn to the front but Lincoln managed to strip the ball and kick out of defence.
From an attacking line-out the home team produced a slick backs moved and ran in a converted try.
With the score now at 17-0, Stamford were throwing everything forward but Lincoln killed the ball at a ruck and received a yellow card.
Town opted for a line out and this time Nairn was successfully driven over for their first try.
Changes were made at this point and Stamford varied the play looking for the opportunity to break through
But they were penalised for not releasing in the tackle and the home side’s kicker landed a penalty from almost halfway to move the score to 20-5.
Stamford took the kick off and it was taken at pace by Dan Heard who ran straight through Lincoln to score a brilliant individual try.
With the score at 20-10, Town knew they were still in with a chance but it turned out not to be.
Lincoln now had the confidence to involve the whole team and stretched the Stamford defence to run in two late tries to which Town could not reply.
Post-match Albinson praised the team’s efforts not only in the final but for the season as a whole.
He leaves a squad which has the ability and confidence to do well next season.
This season’s stats of 24 wins from the 30 games played with the points scored being nearly double those conceded reflects on the efforts of all involved and all should be proud of what they have achieved.
More by this authorJames Bedford