LINCS INTERMEDIATE CUP FINAL REACTION: Stamford College Old Boys 22 Bourne 20
Bourne suffered cup heartache for the second time within three months, but joint coaches John Forbes and Nigel Lindley feel their players have only themselves to blame.
Neil Wood, Owen Leggett and Josh Boddey were the try scorers for Bourne in their 22-20 Lincs Intermediate Cup Final to Stamford College Old Boys at Sleaford’s Ruskington Road ground.
But despite leading twice in the game, a combination of injuries, missed conversions and penalties left Bourne just short of repeating their 8-3 win over their derby rivals in the league a month earlier.
Forbes said: “It was a close game which came down to a couple of miskicks, but the key difference to the league game was the yellow card (against Bourne captain Tom Dixon with 18 minutes left) which gave them the overlap in the backs which they used very well.
“Sam Thornburn was our man of the match because he closed down so much at the front division, but unfortunately we had a series of injuries.
“Ultimately though, we had the opportunity to win but just didn’t take it.”
After the game, Forbes announced his decision to step down as first team coach in order to concentrate on the under-14s.
Lindley said: “It’s the players’ commitment that has to improve because only five of them have a 50 per cent or better attendance record for training nights.
“The boys have a lot of work commitments but we do need a stronger commitment to training.
“It’s down to the players to put in a greater amount of effort and hopefully this defeat will motivate to do a lot more.”
The final itself was a fiercely contested match where, in the end, Stamford College Old Boys made amends for their defeat to Cleethorpes in the same final last year.
Bourne showed early promise as Old Boys conceded two penalties, allowing them to get within five metres of the try line.
The first points came when Bourne managed to get a dominant scrum which ended in a try for vice-captain Wood, converted by ixon.
Not long before the break, the Old Boys worked some good phases through the pack and backs which gave Tom Williams room to make his way over the line.
But an unsuccessful conversion attempt by Johns meant the score was 12–10 to Old Boys at half-time.
After the break, Bourne played with greater urgency before a nasty collision between Harley Giullari and Owen Leggett threatened to throw them off their stride.
But instead, Bourne started to apply some real pressure on the College defence and, ten minutes into the second half ,they scored through Owen Leggett after a well-worked overlap.
An Adam Binns penalty put Bourne ahead 15-12 but the Dixon was sin-binned for persistent offside and Haydn Johns levelled the finall 15-15 with a penalty.
The decisive try came from Walker after a 50-metre move by the forwards and the conversion successful in the swirling wind proved to be vital. Bourne applied some real pressure in the last 10 minutes after Binns missed a penalty chance which would have brought them to within four points of Stamford College.
Then two minutes from time, Bourne winger Josh Boddey profited from a good overlap to score as Binns stepped up for the conversion attempt which would have sent the game into overtime.
But the conversion attempt was missed and when a Bourne forward pass was ruled as a knock-on, Stamford College Old Boys were crowned champions at the final whistle.
Captain John Hickman said: “We’ve had an up-and-down year, with a lot of injuries, so this win is massive for us.
“The boys battled back hard after our loss to Cleethorpes last year, even though we didn’t make it easy for ourselves.
“Bourne played a great game but that desire and hunger we needed was there and we was nice to get one over our local rivals.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for Bourne who, like us, are looking for development of their club over the course of the season.
“Both of us want to grow our clubs and get them moving forward.”
Old Boys winger Aram Jones said: “Our game plan was to keep ball in hand, keep our forwards running off our number nine or pick and go for at least two phases in order to draw Bourne’s backs into the pack.
“Then we’d hit them with wide ball for our backs in the third phase, mainly playing percentage rugby and clear the ball if it comes into our 22.
“We knew our team wasn’t at its strongest against Bourne last time but, with some of our key players back from injury, we knew we had to bring home the win.
“Also, we always seem to do poorly in the league and great in the cups so we need to take the win on Bank Holiday Monday and use it as we can do well if we put our minds to it.
“Our club knew that we had a good chance, having been in the Lincs Cup Intermediate Finals for three years straight, winning it once before.
“But all teams in the cup are strong on a good day and I think we just wanted it more than Bourne.
“Now, we plan to build just how any other team would because knowing we can win the cup shows us that we can play a good level of rugby.
“We now need to take this and use it in the league where hopefully we can achieve better results.
“I do enjoy playing for the Old Boys and we could go to a higher level.
“But we need to be a bit more clinical in the areas we’re strongest in as the guys are all great players and I feel like each and everyone of us brinsg something different to the table which is great to have on a team.”
Meanwhile, Bourne will be hosting a fundraising tug-of-war day at the club in Milking Nook Drove, Bourne, on Saturday, May 14th, starting at 10am.
Teams can enter for a cost of £20 and organiser Andrew Rich said: “So far, I’ve had the most positive feedback from women club members and I want the day to include everyone - men, women and children.
“It’s a way of getting more people into the club to make use of the facilities and bring in more proceeds.
“Hopefully, it’ll become an annual event in south Lincolnshire.”