The return of some key players gave Stamford College Old Boys the boost they needed to beat Thorney 20-13 on Saturday.
With the relentless rain it was never going to be a good day for ball in hand running rugby, both teams found it difficult to keep hold of a slippery ball. The Old Boys kept possession going through the phases using both forwards and backs. After about 10 minutes in the Thorney half their patience paid off, winning a penalty in front of the posts that was successfully kicked by full back Johns.
From the restart the College played in much the same way, using the boot to keep the play in the Thorney half. The visitors did have a couple of opportunities using their driving mauls from well-placed kicks to touch however the sterling Old Boys defence stayed strong and managed to clear their line. College won another penalty within easy kicking range for Johns, and he put the home side 6-0 up.
Thorney capitalised on a moment of lapsed concentration when one of the centres broke through three or four tackles to score the first try of the game. Old Boys replied with a good rolling maul that saw the forwards gain 20 metres and was only stopped inches from the line. A pick and go that would have been a try, fell victim to the atrocious weather as the ball was fumbled over the whitewash.
The last 20 minutes of the half was a real arm wrestle with both teams defending well. The visitors were awarded a penalty that saw them go into the break ahead 6 - 8.
Stamford College came out firing after the break. College spent most of the first 20 minutes in the visitors half, however a strong defence from Thorney combined with difficult weather made it hard to capitalise.
A dropped ball from the Thorney 10 clearing his lines, 5 metres out, gave the home side the opportunity they were after. A strong effort from the pack meant college managed to get the nudge on in the scrum. A penalty awarded as a result of Thorney trying to stop the inevitable try was not needed. College scrum half Simon Gamble’s quick thinking resulted in him scoring their first try of the game, it was converted by Johns and Stamford College Old Boys had the lead. With 10 minutes until the final whistle a Thorney infringement gave the Old Boys an opportunity to kick for touch. The lineout worked well as it had all day. Aled Pattinson collected the ball at the back of the ensuing maul to score a try that belongs to the whole pack. The Old Boys were ahead 20 – 8.
Thorney rallied late and after kicking to the corner, used the line out to set up a drive and the visiting captain managed to cross the try line. However it was too little too late.
The referee awarded the man of the match to Aled Pattinson, an award that could of gone to anyone of the 15 in this massive team effort. Coach Jon Duncan said: “This shows what the Old Boys are capable of and will hopefully give the lads the confidence to climb the table.”
Tomorrow Stamford travel away to Wellingborough OG’s.