Stanford U15s v Maidstone U15s
Stanford U15s travelled across the river to play Kent side Maidstone. Both teams had several players missing due to the half term break and had players playing out of position. Playing on Maidstone’s 1st XV pitch on a cold but sunny day the Essex lads put in a superb performance and played some of their best rugby of the season so far. It was a welcome return for Sam Egar
coming back from injury and he showed just how valuable he is with some great passing and tacking.
The Stanford lads started off confidently and spread the ball out wide several times but just failed to find the final pass. More pressure and a good attack from a lineout saw No10 Sam Moran
break the gain line and offload the ball to Flanker Thomas Thurston
to score the Essex boys first try. Jacob Cushing added the extra points to take a 7-0 lead.
Maidstone responded well and their forwards made good ground with players breaking tackles and getting close to scoring but the Stanford defence stood firm. It was a shame that after defending and clearing their lines the Stanford side moved back up field only to have the ball turned over and spun out wide for the Maidstone centre to sprint through and score under the posts despite being chased down by speedy winger Jonathon Daniels.
Both teams were evenly matched in every department. The forwards battle was ferocious with each side determined not to give an inch. However, it was Stanford who scored a next with Sam Moran
crashing through the defences to take the lead again just before half time 12-7.
Stanford’s centre, Charlie Downes had been tackling well but had to leave the field and Stanford started the 2nd half a player down. Maidstone took advantage of the extra man and scored a well worked try taking the lead 12-14. This spurred the visitors on and the Stanford forwards really took hold of the game and worked their way back up the pitch and into a good attacking position. Flanker Ahmed Aminu was causing all sorts of problems for the opposition and broke the gain line time and time again. Hooker Connor Houlihan
was also making big carries with the ball and it wasn’t long before Stanford was back on top. Sam Moran
got his second try of the day after a short pass from scrum half and Captain Aiden Cronin
sent him over the line and Cushing slotted the extra points. The forwards were rampant and The Maidstone players were stunned by superb support play. A great blindside move saw Amed Aminu evade Maidstone tacklers and run behind the posts to score. Cushing again extended the lead with the conversion.
With Downes returning to the field and Stanford back to 15 players and confidence soaring there were more scores to come. Houlihan was striking well and took several opposition put ins and the back row harassed and overturned ball from rucks and mauls, frustrating the opposition. Sam Egar
and Charlie Downes linked up well and Sam Moran
went over for another try and his hatrick. No 8 Cushing claimed the extra points. Then, from the restart Ahmed Aminu took the ball and raced up field and set up a ruck, Houlihan linked up well with winger Charlie Telfer and despite several attempts Houlihan could not be stopped taking tacklers with him over the line to score Stanford’s final try of the day.
Final Score Stanford 38 Maidstone 14
Stanford’s players of the day were Ahmed Aminu and Sam Moran
but it had been an excellent performance from every player from 1 to 15.