Stamford Rugby showed their true potential on Saturday, running in nine tries and out classing Old Laurentians to win 47-12, with Tom Mutter the tip of sword crossing for four of the tries.
A fired-up Stamford side rocked the visitors back on their heels and had the game won and a bonus point in the bag with only 14 minutes on the clock when the purple, black and whites went over the line for their fourth try.
Stamford played down the slope in the first half and the mobile and aggressive pack immediately took the game to OLs, driving over from a lineout for their first try inside three minutes, with Thomas Mutter touching down.
A number of excursions into the OLs half ended with last ditch cover tackling thwarting the final pass or race for the line but soon the pressure told and resulting penalties saw the purple, black and whites go over from their driving lineout once more for 10-0.
Exceptional rugby down the left hand side with Guy Michels and David Martin led to a score under the posts for an easy conversion and a lead of 17 – 0.
Stamford’s forward power created a further try for Laurent Ross, who snipped from five yards out and was shunted over by the supporting back row to establish a 22-0 lead. With twenty minutes gone, a passage of sustained attack by OLs created an opportunity for their open side to crash over from short range.
Stamford bounced straight back to add a further try to their tally and stretch their lead out to 27-5.
A wonderfully entertaining half of rugby was not yet over when ill-discipline at the tackle area following the restart saw OLs receive a penalty and a chance to gain some field position through a kick to touch. The lineout was gathered well and the ball moved to the strong running inside centre who picked a great line to split the Stamford defence and race in under the posts to register OLs first points and narrow the score line to 27 – 12 at half time.
Throwing on three changes at half time, head coach Matt Albinson asked for impact and that is what boy replacements supplied. New man Jack Jones rose dominantly to gather the kick off, coming back to pitch level to put his foot on the gas and split the OLs chasing pack in half and make a 30 yard break that resulted in the supporting James Green taking the ball on and with Ross supplying quick ball from the resulting tackle, Cameron Park gathered, broke through two would-be tacklers to dot down. The conversion was missed but a 20 point lead was re-established.
The second half saw further patterns worked that had come straight from the training pitch and it was a pleasure to see the full 18 man squad continue to dominate in all aspects of the game. Old Laurentians battled hard until the final whistle and showed plenty of endeavour but they were unlucky to come up against a purple, black and white wall that had found a real physicality and work rate.
Stamford’s performance was as much about attitude as it was about ability, physicality and skill. Robert Smith and Laurent Ross as a half back combination had their best game to date as a partnership and this bodes well moving forwards.
The pack were notably stronger in the set piece with the return of Alan O’Connor and Sean Gill and the entire side collectively were more accurate in and around the tackle area than at any time this season so far. The Old Laurentians coaching team were as impressed as the home support, commenting that the performance that Stamford had out together would have beaten a number of sides in Midlands One (the league that OLs competed in last season) let alone this season’s Midlands Two league.
Albinson reflected on the performance: ‘I am very happy with the lads today. They played some great stuff and to have executed as they did in attack was down to their hard work at training.
“We have to just keep working hard now, reset the bar and replicate the attitude that we had this week in the weeks to come.
“We have some tough fixtures in the next month, tough but mouth-watering and I know the boys are all eager to be playing in every game so it will spice training up even further.
We are looking forward to the hard work.
“Thanks to everyone who came down to support – it was great to see a packed touchline.”