Town pass 50-point target in emphatic home victory
Stamford claimed their 12th consecutive Midlands 3 East (South) success on Saturday with a 53-15 home victory over Rushden & Higham.
Matt Albinson’s men are unbeaten in the league since October 27th and Saturday’s success cemented their grip on second spot.
They remain two points behind league leaders Northampton Casuals who were awarded a walkover win against Birstall on Saturday.
With players returning, head coach Albinson was able to select from a stronger squad than the previous week and this became apparent from the start with Stamford dominating the early phases.
The visitors broke out of defence but, when they were stopped, Gaz Ramsden ran straight and hard and two quick rucks allowed Jack Jones to speed over the line for the opening score.
Town had to reshuffle shortly afterwards when second row Vilive Batikora suffered a facial injury and was replaced by Oli Winspear.
They continued to spread the ball wide and support the carrier though and a good break by Joe McDonald led to a line out in the Rushden 22 which resulted in Sam Hillary being driven over for a try.
The visitors kicked the restart long and straight into the arms of Winspear who took off and made huge yards before offloading to the ever-present Jones who gave the scoring pass to Oli Johnson to touch down between the posts and then calmly slot the conversion to take the score to 17-0.
The purple, black and whites were now in control and used the ball carriers in the forwards and the backs to take the attack on.
Another Winspear break was moved to Martin Bagnall and then Ramsden before finally Ross Haley ran in the fourth and bonus point try. On a day not suited to kickers Johnson was not successful with the conversion.
The second half plan was to use the wind and slope to their advantage but, before Stamford had switched on to this, Rushden attacked and from a scrum broke down the blindside to score in the corner.
This wake-up call reminded Town that the game was far from over and they responded in a positive way.
From a scrum in their own half, number eight Ramsden picked up the ball, ran straight and hard brushing off would-be tacklers to score under the posts for a tremendous individual try, Johnson added the extra two points.
It wasn’t long after play re-started that from a ruck in a similar position Tom Wire, playing his first game after a long injury lay off, did exactly the same and scored his first try. Johnson chipped over the conversion to take the score to 41-5.
Rushden were out of the game now but to their credit they did not give up and used their favourite blind side break to score a try.
This again motivated Stamford and a good handling move in the backs saw full-back Rees Burns hit the line at pace and sprint in for a try which Johnson, having now found his range, converted to take the score to 48-10.
Stamford now had the 50-point target in their sights and following a great scrum drive released Burns again to score his second try.
The game was now in its closing stages and Rushden gave it one last charge and for the third time used a blind side break to score wide out to make the final score 53-15.
Town are at home again on Saturday in the semi-final of the Lincs Cup against Scunthorpe who play three leagues higher than Stamford and are currently top of the Midlands Premier.
As ever touchline support would be welcomed and all the final Six Nations games will be shown on the big screen in the clubhouse.