England World Cup winner Neil Back watches Stamford defeat Huntingdon in Midlands 3 East (South) clash
Stamford recorded another win on Saturday to stay top of Midlands 3 East (South) - but it wasn't the performance they were really looking for.
The 19-10 victory over Huntington keeps them three points clear of second-placed Oakham, but they will see this as a missed opportunity to add to their points tally.
The game was played in front of a decent crowd which included England World Cup winner Neil Back and followed a lunch held to thank the sponsors of the club.
It was the visitors who had the wind and slope advantage in the first half and from the off they came out hard and fast by throwing everything they had into the early stages of the game.
But Stamford know they have a sound defence and, despite having the majority of the possession, Huntingdon could not break through.
When Town had the opportunity they counter attacked at pace but some poor handling meant the attacks were falling down.
The breakthrough came at last when Stamford retained and recycled the ball through a series of phases to open the Huntingdon defence and skipper Robbie Smith darted through to score.
The visitors again tried to use the conditions to their advantage but Stamford were always in control with Mike Kendall clearing up any loose ball to create opportunities to run out of defence but they were unable to add to the score which gave them a half-time lead of 5-0.
With everything in their favour, Stamford started the second half at a far better pace.
An early line-out from outside the Huntingdon 22 was taken and driven like a train straight towards the line.
The only way it could be stopped was by collapsing the drive two metres short and the referee didn’t hesitate in awarding a seven-point penalty try.
This gave Town the lift to increase the pressure and Bentley used the wind to kick them deep into the Huntingdon half.
From the resulting line out Huntingdon kicked up field to Ian Downer at full back who ran it back before linking with Rees Burns who went over under the posts with Oli Johnson adding the conversion to give Stamford a 19-0 lead.
It now only seemed a matter of time before the fourth and bonus point try would come but a series of silly mistakes plus some back-chat to the referee resulted in Tom Mutter and Sam Hillary receiving a yellow card each and reducing Town to 13 players which broke all the rhythm they had built up.
Huntingdon then took their chances by scoring two tries before Stamford could re-group and go for the bonus point but they were unable to make the final breakthrough which left the final score at 19-10.
Other clubs in the league are now hitting form and Stamford know that every performance must come up to the high standard that they have set themselves.
With no match this coming weekend, they will plan to put this right at Northampton BBOB on January 25.
More by this authorJames Bedford