Stamford Rugby Club beat Long Buckby in their first league match of the season
Stamford made a winning start to their Counties 1 Midlands East (South) season with an 18-36 away win at Long Buckby on Saturday.
The absence of some long-standing players meant a new-look squad for coach Matt Albinson to work with and good pre-season preparation ensured the selected team were ready to hit the ground running.
Stamford started strongly, putting the hosts under early pressure, and had the upper hand in the first two scrums.
When they released the ball, Ian Downer ran an attacking move which allowed hooker Harley Riches to score the opening try that Downer converted.
Town kept the pressure on and when Downer was late tackled he kicked the penalty into the corner.
The forwards put on a good line-out drive and it was another front rower, Calum Robertson, who scored, Downer again converted to give Stamford a 0-14 lead.
Long Buckby finally got out of their half and were awarded a penalty for a late tackle and opted to kick the goal.
This reminded Town that they needed to concentrate and they went straight back on the attack and opened up the Buckby defence for James Wilson to run in under the posts for a try which Downer converted to take the score onto 3-21.
The home side were desperate to go at Stamford but the purple, black and white defence stayed strong and stopped everything that came at them so when Long Buckby were awarded another penalty they again opted to kick it to double their points.
From the kick off, they conceded a penalty and Stamford used an earlier tactic of kicking well to the corner for Chisholm to win the line-out, then drive over to give Austin Baker the touch down for the fourth and bonus point try.
The home side again tried to break through and this time Stamford gave away three penalties which resulted in a five metre line out and they moved out quickly for a try which was converted to make the half-time score 13-26.
The early exchanges in second half saw both teams cancel each other out, though it was Stamford's Chisholm and Jones who were dominating the line-outs and Baker and Riches who were getting in quick tackles to keep the hosts out.
Long Buckby managed to fight their way upfield and score a try to close the score to 18-26 but this would be the last time they would score.
Stamford looked the fitter side and were able to put together some good moves but a bit of early season rustiness let them down.
Town's scrum was still performing well and they took this option when awarded a penalty in the opposition 22.
Skipper Jack Jones picked out the ball and crashed through two defenders to score a try to make it 18-31.
As both sides started to feel the effects of the hot weather, it was Stamford who again made the most of their possession.
Downer ran a ball out of defence and linked well with young full back Zach Morley who when stopped off-loaded to Dave Martin who doesn't miss an opportunity like that from 10 metres and dotted down for the last try to make the final score 18-36.
This was a good opening day performance, the line out and scrum performed particularly well and the commitment in defence was very strong.
Stamford have their first home game on Saturday when they welcome Market Bosworth to Hambleton Road, kick-off 3pm.