First XV Progress Through National Competition
The First XV completed a big week with two impressive victories. Having comprehensively beaten Mill Hill School in London 26-0 in difficult conditions to keep their unbeaten record alive, they faced their biggest test of the season so far against Oundle School in the 2nd round of the national Daily Mail RBS Cup; the premier schoolboy rugby competition.
A huge crowd saw the home side control things well early on with skipper Louis Grimoldby popping over two penalties. Local rival Oundle, however, provided a quick response and following forward pressure they crashed over from a line-out to go 7-6 up. More pressure followed and Stamford conceded a penalty in front of the sticks to go into half-time 10-6 down.
The boys re-grouped following stern words at half-time and responded brilliantly. A superb move from their own 5m line saw Grimoldby put Justin Bland away down the wing, feeding back to Grimoldby who found Owen Smith on the end of an offload to dance into the corner. Minutes later, forwards Angus Green, Ethan Moss, Thomas Wire and Lewis Nettleton drove straight through the Oundle defence and the captain slotted another penalty over from close to the half-way line to take the scores to 16-13 with ten minutes to go.
The intensity grew along with the pressure. Tom Pritchard controlled the pack well and Tom Gulland and Will Bacon kept the boys going forward to the delight of the huge home support, although both sides spurned chances as neither side could finish the game off. The Stamford pack started to gain the upper hand in the dying phases and great lines and support from Smith, Harry Martin and Grimoldby allowed winger Kieran Staunton to slide inside the corner flag. At 21-13 the home side had done enough and fifteen very tired, battered and bruised bodies celebrated with their supporters.
Coach David Laventure paid tribute to the side; “Oundle are always a great benchmark to test a side’s mental and physical intensity. The boys were outstanding; they never lost heart and controlled the second half very well indeed.”
The boys now travel to the prestigious St Joseph’s College National Schools Rugby Festival in Ipswich. Their next First XV game is at Peterborough RFC on Wednesday 19th October, kick off at 6.30pm. The clubhouse will be open from 6pm and all support is welcome.