College claim victory despite playing with 14 men - and 12 forwards - for 70 minutes
Stamford College Old Boys defied all the odds to claim a superb 17-12 away success at Wellingborough Old Grammarians in Saturday’s Midlands 4 East (South) clash.
They travelled to Northamptonshire with just the bare minimum squad of 15 players – 12 of which were forwards meaning several had to play out of position.
And they then suffered a setback after just 10 minutes of the contest when Andrew Barringer was forced to leave the field with a leg injury.
However, despite falling 12-0 behind, a sterling display saw College record their sixth league win of the season with the players earning the plaudits from chairman Jon Duncan.
Duncan said: “To have 14 warriors on the field for 70 minutes and come away with a win says what this club is all about. The lads never gave up and were fully committed and got the job done.”
College welcomed new recruit Dan Satherley who had his first game at scrum half and made his presence felt on his debut.
The weather conditions resulted in both sides having to keep the ball tight with the odd occasional kick over the top.
Luckily for the College side, Wellingborough didn’t use the kicking game and kept the ball close to their forwards.
Old Boys started on the back foot with Wellingborough throwing everything at them in the early exchanges.
The defence was standing strong and keeping the hosts at bay until Barringer’s departure left College with an uphill battle for 70 minutes.
And Wellingborough took full advantage to capitalise with a converted try shortly after to open up a 7-0 advantage.
With a reshuffled back line, College began to move forward as Aled Pattinson made the hard yards and Jimmy Twose was close in support to carry further.
Carl Walker, Alex Walker and Dan Smith were forever present at the breakdown, allowing Satherley to give quick ball to the forwards and backs.
College lost possession in the Wellingborough 22 after they had worked the ball well through the hands and it needed a try-saving tackle from Tiago Rodriguez to ensure the score stayed the same.
However, Wellingborough were not to be denied and they added their second try shortly after by scoring in the far corner to take a 12-0 lead.
College battled well for the remaining five minutes of the first half and a superb solo effort by Haydn Johns gave Old Boys the score they deserved by chipping the ball over the onrushing defence and collecting it before beating the last man and scoring under the posts.
Johns added the conversation to make the half-time score 12-7 in Wellingborough’s favour.
The second half saw a more determined College side as their setpiece became more dominant with changes in the line out while even turning the ball over against the head at scrum time.
Carl Walker turned over the ball on numerous occasions and it wasn’t long before College were in their opponents 22.
Pattinson realised a mismatch on the blind side and pointed this out to Johns who ran at the defence and, with a perfectly-timed pass, found Pattinson to score a try which Johns converted for a 12-14 lead.
The remainder of the half saw College pressing the opposition defence with Max Bannister, Ben Morgan and Chris Steel putting in some big hits.
Good running from Johns and Rodriguez made the yards before College were awarded a penalty with 10 minutes left which saw Johns add the extra three points.
Wellingborough came at College late on only to be denied by a wall of red and green as Old Boys held out for a fine victory.
College: Pickerill, Duncan, Walker, Steel, Bannister, Morgan, Walker, Smith, Sathlerley, Johns, Twose, Barringer, Pattinson, Rodriguez, Durrant.