Story inspires Stamford to opening day league success

Stamford RFC in action against Ashby EMN-140917-132825001

Stamford RFC in action against Ashby EMN-140917-132825001

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Even without a pre-season win and with players missing through injuries and other commitments Stamford went into Saturday’s first league game with confidence high and won 36-25.

Stamford started slowly and were almost waiting for a key moment to start playing. As a result, after 15 minutes they trailed 10-0 to newly-promoted Ashby.

However, Stamford were gathering momentum and returning openside flanker Oli Story, who was playing front row on Saturday, was the first to smash through and score. Guy Michels added the conversion.

The forwards started putting the phases together and were gaining ground, giving the backs the platform to work their magic.

With great work from the centre pairing of Chris Fletcher and skipper Austin Schwarz plus winger Reece Burns, the forwards powered into the 22 with Story and Tom Plant leading the charge.

Quick thinking from the ever-impressive Robbie Smith at scrum half put Chris Fletcher through and he turned the last two defenders inside out to score. Michels could not add the extras.

Another attack saw the forwards put together some good offloading and flanker Tom Mutter showed good awareness to put new second row signing Ben Richardson in a gap and he crashed through two defenders to score.

Michels added the conversion.

Winger Dan Thompson added another try after more impressive offloading, to give Stamford a 24-10 half-time lead.

The second half started well for Stamford again, with great work from Tom Wire and James Greene playing a massive role upfront and the pace and power from Story, Mutter and Plant was too much for Ashby to handle.

Fly half Michels and winger Thompson crossed over again in the second half with Michels converting his try to record a final score of 36-25.

The only blot on the game was front row Cathal McHugh’s yellow card for tripping an opponent, a matter which will be dealt with using an internal disciplinary action at the club.

New head coach Stef Arlow said: “This result really has got our season off to a good start.

“I can’t praise the players enough, they showed steel and discipline to get that result.

“I know we are still conceding points and we must come out of the blocks faster but those are things we can work on.

“Oli Story played an awesome game and deserved being named man of the match but everyone played a massive part in that win.

“I’m keeping the players grounded as it’s still early days and we have some big tests ahead.

“We are still a work in progress, new players are coming in and regulars coming back from injury so selection is getting tougher.

“It’s Bakewell away next and I believe we can do well against them. ”