Mistley travelled all the way from deepest North Essex for the match and were hindered by traffic leading to a delayed kick off. Despite this, the visitors started strongly, camping themselves in the Stanford 22 for the first few minutes of the match.
Mistley’s Pack were very big, strong and well-drilled and bossed the scrum throughout the match, winning Stanford put-ins several times, and this meant that Stanford were starved of possession for large parts of the first half. Even when Stanford won their own scrums they found themselves going backwards at a rate of knots, disrupting any attacks they tried to launch.
The home side slowly gained a foothold in the game, making progress towards the opposition try-line, only for Mistley to re-gain possession and score a converted try just before half time, to leave the score at 7-0 to Mistley at the break.
The home side seemed to switch on in the second half and started to gain an advantage in the loose, with Jake Martin and Luke Spurgeon very effective, with the forwards competing passionately for the ball and the backs running at the Mistley defence. After some adjustments at half time, Stanford began to gain better control from the scrums and some powerful runs from forwards Nathan Palmer and Tony Bewers led to good field position. When the ball went wide, Sharbaz Smith, Michael Wood, Harry McGregor and Liam Brunger caused difficulties for the visitors’ cover defence.
As the second half progressed, Stanford gained the upper hand in spite of some stubborn resistance by the visitors and a kick through by Stanford resulted in a score in the corner by No 8 Alfie Edmeades, converted beautifully by fly half Ben Squelch. This seemed to open the floodgates and Centre Mike Wood ran in two tries along with another by Alfie Edmeades. Despite Mistley scoring another converted try, Stanford went on to score tries from Charlie Downes and Nathan ‘Napalm’ Palmer after a particularly determined run. Ben Squelch converted two more to make the final score 36-14.
Stanford showed great resolve and did not allow lack of possession and a determined opposition to divert them from the job at hand. Many thanks to Mistley for making the long trip down and giving us a hard, competitive and sporting match