Stamford College Old Boys were beaten 16-10 on arguably one of the most difficult away days in the Midlands Four East South league as Birstall kept their undefeated run alive.
College went into the game with a clear plan of starving the home side of possession and cutting out their three quarter line as they are notoriously dangerous.
The Old Boys started well going through the phases with strong carries from the pack, notably: Smith, Clark, Pickerill and Pattinson. Both sides defended well making it difficult for either side to make any clean line breaks.
With no weakness appearing in either defence, kicking for the post from penalties seemed like a better option than gaining territory with the aim of scoring a try. Both teams had a couple of chances to gain the three points from the boot in the first half however the wind made this no mean feat.
After many bruising confrontations up front and in midfield, the home side had the best opportunity to score a try in the first half. Birstall’s catch and drive from 10 metres out was successfully defended. This was followed by a few crash balls from their big ball carriers, the last of which made it over the white wash but was held up by captain John Hickman.
The home side managed to slot a penalty not long before the end of the half, meaning they were ahead 3-0 going into the break.
The second half started with the College frustrating Birstall using their big ball carriers to gain territory and hold possession. Their efforts were rewarded when Jones successfully kicked a penalty bringing the scores even. The home side answered well scoring a penalty not long after.
The attritional deadlock was finally broken after a strong run from Pattinson, bulldozing through the defence,led to him linking with Williams who scored the first try of the game. The extras were successfully added, meaning the Old Boys took the lead with 20 minutes to go.
The home side threw everything at an unbreakable College defence. A silly infringement from the visitors meant Birstall were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, this brought them within one point of the Old Boys.
For the remaining of the half there was a real arm wrestle for possession and territory. With just five minutes until the final whistle a rare missed tackle meant Birstall were able to break the line and score their first try of the game, putting the home side ahead 16-10, which it stayed.
The last kick of the game was an ambitious penalty kick missed by Birstall.
Although Stamford College Old Boys were disappointed not to get the win a losing bonus point away at Birstall is a great achievement for the club and those bonus points can be vital at the end of the season.
This weekend will see a vital clash with local rival Bourne, both teams seem to be on form and neither will want to go into the Christmas break bottom on the table.
Kick-off 2.15 at Stamford Welland Academy.