Stamford Rugby Club beat Oakham Rugby Club
Stamford took the bragging rights as they defeated Oakham in the first Counties 1 Midlands East (South) derby of the season on Saturday.
The purple, black and whites were 15-24 winners at the Showground in a highly-competitive match that was played in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Stamford started strongly and in the early exchanges gained good ground with a drive from a line-out but the home side's defence managed to hold them up.
Another Stamford attack was developing when an Oakham player intercepted a pass and sprinted upfield to score a converted try to give the hosts an early 7-0 lead.
The game settled down with Town looking strong in the forwards and the Oaks backs looking sharp with the ball in hand.
They moved the ball wide in an attacking move but this time it was Stamford's turn to intercept and Ben Chisholm crossed for the try which Harry Bentley converted to draw the scores level.
It was the visitors that were now applying the pressure and, when Oakham conceded a penalty, Bentley kicked the three points.
Another penalty was conceded when a home player deliberately knocked the ball down and received a yellow card.
Both sides were now trying to get the upper hand but no further scores were added so at the interval they turned around at 7-10.
The second half saw Stamford continue to press and James Wilson was released down the wing but was tackled into touch.
Oakham tightened their defence and Town were unable to find the breakthrough and it was the home side who scored next when they converted a penalty to make the score level at 10-10.
Stamford's attacks were not helped by their own line-out not functioning as well as normal which allowed Oaks to regain possession.
Town put together a good move which took them close to the try line and, when the ball went loose, several Oakham players seemed to wait for each other to claim it but Dan Heard acted quickest to pick up and score a try which Bentley converted to make it 10-17.
Both sides were looking for any opportunity to attack but the defences cancelled each other out.
Town made their way into the home 22 and won a scrum which was driven on by Joe Ireland who set up for Chisholm to drive over for a try which Bentley again converted.
Oakham’s response was to work their way upfield before releasing their winger who scored in the corner to make the score 15-24.
The hosts finished the game on the attack but each time Stamford were able to stop them and either Bentley or Downer was able to kick clear and no further score was added.
This win meant Stamford maintained second place in the league with their next match away at Spalding on Saturday, October 14.