Staggerers start with a bang
Excellent second half seals victory
The Staggerers started their East Mids cup competition campaign with a resounding 54-0 victory over Oundle. Despite missing forwards Hulme, Griggs, Skea, Morey, Stonestreet and Burgess the Staggerers were boosted by the return of prop Michael Blanchard, who had been helping the 1st XV out.
The Staggerers started brightly putting Oundle under pressure in their own half. After 5 minutes a well won line out saw the ball moved to fly half Chris Matthews who passed back on the inside to flanker/centre Neil Welsh who broke through two tackles and rounded the full back with ease to open the scoring. Matthews converted 7-0.
Some excellent kicking out of hand from Matthews saw Oundle under continued pressure. More good work at a lineout enabled Blanchard to pick up from a ruck 5m out and power over. Matthews added the extras, 14-0 after fifteen minutes.
Despite the positive start the Staggerers could not add any further scoring in the first half. This was despite a great break out of defence by winger Kevin Simonis who looked like going the length of the field only to be tackled just short. Oundle dominated most of the possession and territory but excellent defence and discipline ensured that they never looked like scoring. Half time 14-0.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with the Staggerers scoring early but this time the scoring continued throughout the half. Prop Robbie Atwell set up centre Steve Foster with a great break and out of the back of the hand off load, before crossing the line himself following good work by winger Jamie Rice. Rice also crossed the line, having earlier dropped the ball in the act of scoring. Full back Andy Walker, a constant menace throughout, showing dazzling footwork (well good for an old man) to score the sixth try before Matthews added one himself. The final score saw Matthews make another excellent break before setting skipper Paul Baynes free to gallop in from half way. Matthews converted five out of the six tries to make the final score 54-0.
An excellent all round team performance, with Matt Day and Ben Trantor excellent in the back row. James Downey put in a big shift as a make shift second row and props Atwell and Blanchard destroyed the Oundle scrum, as well as scoring a try each. The backs, in particular Matthews and Walker had strong performances as did Welsh.
Man of the match was awarded to Robbie Atwell.
Special mention must go to our referee James Gould, who had an excellent game and is clearly set for bigger and better things.