Stamford College Old Boys vs Rugby St Adnrews 1s
A Slow Start with a Strong Finish
Saints made the trip to Stamford conscious of the fact that their hosts were on a 3-game winning run at home which included victories over Northampton BBOB and Rugby Lions. An unusually poor warm-up led to a sluggish start as Stamford came flying out of the blocks to stun the Saints into action.
Saints were under pressure from the kick-off and when Stamford broke down the wing, their fly half Johns was on hand to collect a chip ahead to squeeze over in the corner for a try, ten minutes later the same player carved through the Saint's defence to extend the lead with Brierley-Lewis converting both to give the hosts a 14-0 lead in as many minutes. This was the wake-up call Saints needed and when a penalty was kicked to touch inside the home 22 the forwards lay a platform and mauled their way over the line from 15 metres out for a try claimed by Steve Young, converted by Joe Hudson. Saints had tightened their defence and the forwards were gaining an advantage in the tight. A second try followed on 26 minutes, quick ruck ball from the pack resulted in hooker Chris Heslop picking a good line through the defence for a try with the conversion attempt hitting the post. Saints took the lead for the first time as half-time approached with centre David Lewis powering through a gap to cross for a try to give Saints a 17-14 lead.
The second half started and Stamford were soon level through a Brierley-Lewis penalty before Saints went on the attack. They set up a good field position and thought they had secured the bonus point try when David Lewis again forced his way over under the posts, however, the referee was distracted by an altercation between the forwards and bought play back to award Saints a scrum. The pack comfortably won the ball for the backs to attack out wide, when the attack was stopped illegally replacement scrum-half Will Headley took a quick tap and ghosted through the defence for the try, converted by Joe Hudson to restore Saints lead. The match then took a turn, Saints secured possession from the kick-off and as they looked to attack were penalised for leading into a tackle with the shoulder which resulted in a red card, a further discussion with the referee over the decision also resulted in a Yellow, leaving Saints with 13 players on the pitch. Brierley-Lewis kicked the resulting penalty to reduce the deficit to 24-20. Despite the numerical disadvantage, it was the Saints who looked more dangerous with the forwards driving Stamford off the ball at the scrums despite being a man light and it was the visitors who scored the only points in these 10 minutes when flanker Ryan Taylor appeared out wide and chipped over the defence before winning the race for the ball to give Saints a two score advantage. This was the last score of the game as the Saints tightened up and kept Stamford pinned back into their own half.
A strange game but the Saints showed grit and determination after a slow start to secure the bonus point victory against strong opposition and maintain their unbeaten league campaign and 8-point advantage at the top over Northampton BBOB. Another positive taken from the game was the introduction in the second half of current Colts captain Rich Phipps for his senior debut, starting on the wing before moving to fly half and ending up at Full Back to showcase his versatility. This week Saints entertain Northampton Mens Own who are unbeaten in their last 4 matches which has seen them climb the league into 4th place.