Stamford were facing the prospect of losing three in a row on Saturday but respond with a rousing 56-36 win at home to Loughborough.
If they had fallen to a Loughborough side that was two places ahead of them in the league and boasted a win over the purple, black and whites earlier in the season then it would have been tough to pick themselves up for the last encounter of the season tomorrow against Ashbourne RFC.
However Stamford started the game on the front foot, dominating the collisions, recycling quick ball at the breakdown and moving the ball through the hands to attack the wider spaces. Stamford opened their account early on when forwards Alan O’Connor, James Green and Bruce Parker crashed through the gain line and interlinked to produce quick ball at the resulting breakdown, the ball was moved wide through the half backs of Robbie Smith and Matt Albinson to see Rees Burns race in for his first of four tries during the match.
Albinson who had taken on the kicking duties for the afternoon due to the absence of Will Mardling, who was out with a pulled intercostal muscle, missed to the left and the score was left at 5-0.
Stamford’s pack continued to dominate in the tight and left Robbie Smith with plenty of time and space around the breakdown to bring his runners into the game and cause Loughborough problems all afternoon with his sniping runs down the short side.
Cameron Park produced a mature and precise performance at number eight and deservedly powered over the line from the base of a 5 metre scrum.
The front row of Mark Erven, Cathal McHugh and James Green were in fine form and speared headed one of the best scrummaging performances of the season.
In the second half Stamford continued to play with width and when they managed to keep ball in hand they proved difficult to compete with. That said Stamford were guilty of turning too much ball over due to handling mistakes and Loughborough managed to gain more possession than in the first half and on the counter attack showed good pace to score a further three tries during the second half.
The ever present midfield of Austin Schwarz and Chris Fletcher proved too much for their opposite numbers; time and time again they both broke through the gain line and fed supporting runners.
Burns went on to complete his hat trick in the second half and Alan O’Connor got over the white wash twice which was just reward for what was a fine performance from the second row.
Stamford scored a further four tries in the second half and ran out 5 -36 winners to secure a bonus point.
Captain Matt Albinson said: “The boys were disappointed with our showing at their place back in December, losing 17 - 7 and it fuelled the fire for the challenge this afternoon.
“We wanted to play this game like a cup final; we did and we will do the same next week when Ashbourne come to town.”
“It has been a long and rewarding season which has served up many lessons.
“With one more opportunity left to go out and put a performance together it is important to us that we finish on a high.
“To have leaked 36 points today albeit some of those coming from fortuitous situations, is not good enough and highlights that defence is an area of our game that we must focus on for next week against Ashbourne and beyond into next season.”