The new-look Stamford RFC are limping into the new season after a tough pre-season which has seen them lose numerous key players to injury.
Stamford, who are now led by former Peterborough Lions coach Stef Arlow, have lost both their pre-season games this summer and a recent cup match as they look to have a change in fortunes on the eve of the new Midlands Two East North season.
Stamford lost 24-17 to Melton Mowbray, who were relegated into Midlands 3 East North last season, before losing to Midlands Three East South side Oundle 15-8.
Just five days later, an injury-depleted Stamford squad then lost 26-10 against Nottingham Casuals, who normally play in the same league.
Arlow said: “Key players missing through injuries and other commitments have been a problem for our first games.
“Friendlies are a way of finding winning combinations in teams but players being away and losing key players to injuries have hurt us.”
In the Melton Mowbray match, Stamford lost vice-captain Oli Story during the warm up and Guy Michels to concussion in the first set of phases.
Then hooker Danny McFadden torn his groin and they were already without back-row Bruce Parker due to an injury and two regular front rows.
However Stamford stood up to a larger, more aggressive pack, for much of the game. They led for much of the tie before conceding late to lose the game.
At home to Oundle they let an early lead slip away to a lively, confident team that had plenty of players on the bench to roll on and off.
Arlow said: “Once again we were showing signs of our ability in attack and defence but not sustaining it for long enough periods during the game. Again with key players missing and forced changes being made during the game we narrowly lost
“Our next game was the second in five days and took it’s toll. Defensive mistakes and knocked confidence saw us lose again, but the positives I’ve got out of the three games are enough to still believe we can compete well in the league, which starts against Ashby at home this Saturday.
“In effect we are a new team, with new players, coach and we are still finding our feet. It’s my job to train and pick the right players for the league games and with injured players coming back now the upcoming weeks look exciting.”
Stamford are hoping for bigger crowds this season and are starting the season off with a barbecue, from 1pm, and bouncy castle to encourage people to come and make a day of it at the Empingham Road Playing Fields.
The match kicks off at 3pm and the bar will be open throughout the afternoon.