Stamford College Old Boys were narrowly beaten 12-6 at home to Bedford Swifts on Saturday in a game they had targeted to get some much needed league points in the Midlands Four East South division.
The Old Boys started with the wind to their advantage. Brown made good use of the weather to keep the visitors pinned back. Within the first 20 minutes Old Boys had a couple of chances denied. One would be try, from a pick and go, after numerous phases was deemed to be a knock on by the referee.
The chance was the result of great running from the backs combined with brute force from the pack.
The home side played well to create opportunities however the blitz defence from Swifts was one on the best College have come up against this season.
After Swifts conceded a few penalty’s in their half, it was evident Old Boys’ catch and drive, that had worked so well in previous games, was not going to have the desired effect. Swifts used every trick in the book to stop the maul from five metres out and it worked well.
With only 15 minutes left of the first half captain John Hickman didn’t want to lose the advantage of the wind with no points to show. On two occasions the three points were taken by Haydn Johns. The half finished 6-0.
Stamford College Old Boys knew the second half would be a real test for their defence. The visitors used the wind in a similar way College had in the first half. For the first 20 minutes the College defence was impenetrable, however Swifts eventually found their way over the line following a strong carry. The conversion was successful and the lead was gone.
Old Boys were forced to try and play their way up the pitch as the boot was no challenge to the wind. Some brilliant ball carrying made some of the territory, in particular from second row Graham Clark and full back Haydn Johns. However this was not enough to break the strong Swifts defence combined with the howling wind.
The visitors scored again with 10 minutes to go leaving Old Boys with too much to do, regardless they battled to the end.
Club captain John Hickman said after the game: “We are disappointed we didn’t get the win as I felt it was within our grasp, however if you asked me a couple of month ago I would have been over the moon to take a losing bonus point against a team like Swifts.”
The Old Boys will travel to undefeated Birstall tomorrow for the penultimate game before the Christmas break.