Another Big Win for Stamford First XV
Stamford School First XV produced a great second half fight back to defeat Oakham School on Saturday 24th November.
It was Oakham, the home side, who made the best start. They moved the ball quickly and with real purpose, stretching the Stamford defence across the park. Stamford were uncharacteristically quiet and some pre-match tension possibly got the better of them as mistakes punctuated the early exchanges.
It was a major defensive mistake on 12 minutes that allowed the Oakham centre to round his man and send the winger over. Minutes later another defensive lapse saw the Oakham backs capitalise and at 12-0 it looked very ugly indeed for the visitors. They picked themselves up and despite never really finding any form they battled back, with skipper Louis Grimoldby popping over a penalty just before half time.
The second half was a different story. Great carrying from Owen Smith, Tom Gulland and Ethan Moss got Stamford marching forward and the pressure eventually told. A penalty led to a driving maul which saw tight-head prop Moss crash over. Again it was Stamford who straight from the re-start were able to control the ball and start to dominate the break down. Will Bacon and Tom Wire made great inroads before Grimoldby was able to make a well-timed miss pass, giving winger Justin Bland a foot race that he wouldn’t lose to go into the corner. Grimoldby converted 15-12.
Success in the set piece gave Stamford more control and half backs Tom Pritchard and Grimoldby again distributed effectively. A great scrum saw Oakham under real pressure and the resulting penalty made it 18-12. There were a few tense moments as the clock ticked down but the Stamford defence, led brilliantly by Lewis Nettleton and Tom Gulland, held strong.
The team now press on to finish what could be a very successful season, having already beaten Oundle, Uppingham, Haileybury and Nottingham High School amongst others. In a remarkable achievement, this was the first season in which the Stamford School First XV, 16As and 15As have been victorious over Oakham, Oundle and Uppingham.
Coach David Laventure was full of praise for the boys; “The rugby wasn’t always pretty, but a great game for the supporters. They guys showed great character to come back like that away from home. Oakham always provide a very stern test of your credentials and the boys should be very, very happy.”
The First XV is at home this weekend against St Albans School. Kick-off is at 2.30pm, all support is welcome.