Great effort lads, well done....
This was an important match on two levels. All ‘cup’ matches are significant but this time the identity of opposition was of equal import: Stamford have impressed in the past, and have brought a high standard of technical skill to the matches. At last year’s Oakham festival they cruised past Paviors with some very slick half back work. The home team were braced for a tough match and Stamford warmed-up with confidence.
From the start, however, it was clear that Paviors were not going to roll over, and some persistent attacking play meant that the bulk of the first half was played in the Stamford half. Rucking is improving and the ball was presented earlier – meaning that the backs were well served and made some penetrating runs. Stamford’s reliance on kicking their way out of trouble pushed Paviors back but they returned quickly, forcing Stamford into mistakes and gaining penalties in dangerous positions. Finally, another penalty saw the ball sweep down the line to John Joseph, whose pace took him to within a metre of the line: a desperate tackle held him up but an exemplary turn and finish completed the move: a great try!
Paviors continued to press and more penalties followed; a wayward kick to touch was swallowed up by Boo on the 22 metre line and he weaved past a line of opposition to double the try count.
The momentum lessened a little in the second half, as Stamford rallied and began to attack more effectively: their resolve was weakened as Jake picked up a loose ball and powered over the line with characteristic determination. Stamford struck back twice in quick succession, making the most of some strong left wing play and bringing the game to an exciting last tem minutes. With hearts in mouths, Paviors’ supporters watched as Stamford took a brilliant interception and was clear away from the pursuing home team – only the breathe again as the referee called play back for a penalty to Paviors. In the chaos that ensued, Stamford’s erratic kicking once again saw the ball land in a the opposition hands – this time it was Fraser, who drove forward and scored to secure the win.
Well done to both teams – this was a well fought and evenly matched game which Paviors needed to win. They did so with some accomplished rugby and a tangible sense of growing self belief.
Please see Steves photos......