Stoneygate make it a perfect three from three in the derby
Stoneygate made the short trip from Uppingham to Oakham for the third Rutland derby since making the move from Leicester to the Rutland market town, and the result was the same as the first two encounters, victory. This time by a score of 27-0 against the Oaks 2nd XV.
The conditions on the day were terrible, a fierce wind was blowing from post to post which meant 40 minutes of wind and rain assisted play for each side.
Stoneygate started with the wind in their backs and made early inroads using it to their advantage by kicking into the corners. Early Gate pressure forced the first handling error from Oakham and the resulting scrum inside the Oakham 22 allowed number eight Archie to pick and go and cross for the first try of the match. James Keywood narrowly missed the conversion with the ball being blown in all directions in the air.
It wasn’t long before Stoneygate crossed the line for the second time. Again kicking to the corner put Oakham under pressure with the wind and rain working against them. Oakham attempted to clear the ball but it fell to the hands of Gate full-back, James Keywood who found winger Robin Harding coming through the midfield at pace. Robin drew the last defender and put Cillian Brugha into acres of space with just 20 metres to the line. The returning Gate skipper crossed unopposed and the visitors went 10-0 up.
A third try soon followed in similar circumstances, again Oakham were being pinned back in to their 22 under significant pressure from the elements.
The Gate try came from lineout ball which was shipped in to the midfield and carried up by Brugha who was bought down 10 metres short of the posts.
Tom Charnley ran an excellent supporting line following the tackle, gathered the ball from a pop-pass off the ground and smashed his way over the line dragging a number of Oakham defenders with him. James Keywood this time added the two points and within just 20 minutes, the visitors were 17-0 up.
For the next 40 minutes, the game became rather stagnated, Gate seeming rather complacent with their lead but also the home side really stepping their game up and taking the fight to their local rivals despite the disappointing start.
At the turn of the half, Oakham, playing with the elements in their favour, pressured the Stoneygate line much as the visitors had in the first-half. However Gate’s defence stood up the pressure and kept the home side out.
Oakham made numerous changes in the final quarter of the match while Gate suffered a couple of injuries meaning they went down to 14 men and uncontested scrums due to front row players being forced off.
However the visitors from Uppingham were the ones to add points to the board, after a number of phases in the tight five, quick ball shipped out to the backs coupled with some effective running lines resulted in Robin Harding going over for his first try. Jack Clark facing gale force winds made a valiant effort with the conversion but to no avail.
The final score of the match came late on, and in similar style to the fourth. The Stoneygate backs set up winger Steve Farrow who barraged his way over the line for the visitor’s fifth try of the match.
Oakham came close in the final minute with an attacking scrum on the Stoneygate five metre line, but to no avail as Gate kept them out.