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Town tighten grip on top three spot

Stamford chalked up their fourth successive Midlands 3 East (South) victory with a 36-19 home win over Stockwood Park on Saturday.

A strong second half showing saw Stamford cement joint second spot in the table ahead of this weekend’s trip to Biggleswade.

A healthy number of spectators turned out for a match which saw head coach Matt Albinson have players returning to selection this week and the side chosen looked good enough to achieve the objectiveof a bonus point win.

Stamford v Stockwood Park on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (5879354)
Stamford v Stockwood Park on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (5879354)

Stamford played up the slope in the first half and the early exchanges were scrappy with neither side able to put together a fluent game plan.

Park were desperate for points and fought hard for possession but, in a repeat of last week, Town’s defence was solid.

When they were in possession Stamford attacked using the forwards to make good ground and, once in the opposition’s 22, they tried to convert this into points but Stockwood did not make it easy.

A good maul allowed the ball to come back to Ben Murphy who scored near the posts with Rees Burns adding the conversion.

The visitors hit back quickly with a converted try of their own and the game continued with both sides gaining and losing the ball.

Mike Kendall then sprinted over from a breakdown to score and, going into injury-time, Sam Hillary increased the lead with a try of his own.

Injury time continued to the surprise of all to the 56th minute when the visitors worked a good try before the referee decided that was long enough and blew for the interval with the score at 17-12.

Stamford v Stockwood Park on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (5879368)
Stamford v Stockwood Park on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (5879368)

The second half saw a much better organised performance from Stamford as good driving mauls led by Ramsden meant they were now dominating the game.

The Stamford scrum also went up a gear and Park were being driven backwards.

From one such play the ball was taken deep into the 22 which allowed Jack Jones to crash himself over for one of his trademark tries which also secured the bonus point.

The backs decided that they now wanted some of the action and the excellent running and passing of Martin Bagnall opened up space for those around him.

However, it was Park who counter-attacked and claimed the next score to close to the deficit to 22-19 at this point.

Stamford were not to be denied though and a sweeping attack by Burns, supported by Bagnall and Hunter, saw Burns himself finished off the move under the posts for a try which he then converted.

Town’s forwards now took complete control and drove forward again and, after a series of scrums, the ball was recycled to the unstoppable Jon Murphy to score with Burns again adding the extras.

This was a well-deserved 36-19 win for Stamford in a game that broke the 100-minute mark and the continuation of the winning run.

A visit to Biggleswade awaits this weekend to play a home side who are also desperate for survival points, but Town must focus on their own plans and be at their best for this road trip before the next game at home on January 5 against local rivals Bourne.

Stamford: Green, Durrant, B Murphy, J Murphy, Griffin, Jones, Kendall, Ramsden, Smith, Bentley, McDonnell, Bagnall, Anderson, Hunter, Burns, Hillary, Hill, Ager.

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