The gaffer wanted to take this fixture as he doesn't forget. He hasn't forgotten that Stamford RFC beat Tows in a Tour Tournament - in the Final - many, many years ago! He wanted his lads to travel all this way to make it even! In all seriousness, we knew this team would be useful, and as many of their lads played together for one of the big Private schools, we knew they would work well as a unit.
And they did, especially in the opening ten minutes. From the kick-off they exerted pressure on Buffalo and forced a few errors from our lads until we found ourselves on our five meter line - starting slow again? Yes we had. But the lads dug in and held them up for several phases of play until the threat simply disappeared as we turned defence in to attack.
Some strong running and we found ourselves on their 5 meter line now. Under immense pressure, they slipped up and gave a Penalty away to us. Joe was cute to the threat - and was enjoying the play as they had nobody in their pack that could match his physicality and size - he took the penalty quickly and forced a try for us. The wind was very, very tricky today - swirling around and it played havoc with the conversions. Harvey missed this one.
0-5 to Tows.
Once again, from the restart they targeted Buffalo. His confidence was knocked and then so was the ball - careless errors giving away a scrum. The only positive was that our pack must have been 10 stone heavier than theirs and every scrum was ours to take. Stealing the ball in the scrum, we had quick hands our to JJ and then Harvey – Harvey tried a cute kick over the top but the wind took it just past the try line - hadn't gone dead though, so they had to kick to clear. The kick was poor though and we found ourselves in the position of a line out about 13 meters out. Given our dominance in the scrums, the boys got to test their maul strength here and we were too much for them again. Great effort from the pack with Josh managing to peel off and secure our second try.
Wind still an issue, Harvey missing the conversion kept us at 0-10 up.
Moments later our pack took control of their scrum again - turnover ball and quick hands to JJ, then Harvey, then Jacob who ran a good line to secure the try. Yet another missed kick (has Harvey EVER missed three on the bounce?), left the scores at 0-15.
The restart saw their #10 kick the ball straight out. We naturally chose to scrum as the restart, which we pushed them right back - Connor taking the ball and passing to JJ then Harvey and on to Dicks - a great run from him with an offload that a Fijian would've been proud of - sort one handed offload out the back to Jacob who secured our try. Fourth conversion missed from Harvey - this time by inches...
Next play we were held up on the try line. Their clearance finding Deamer who ran it straight back at them - a great run. The tackle made on his ended up as a maul just 5 meters out. Deamer found himself back on the ball and his subsequently dived for the line and secured our 5th try which Harvey kicked!
0-27 going in to half time.
Their heads had started to drop, at least for a few it had. Played right, this could be a fifty-pointer. From the restart they knocked on. We had brought on several Finishers and that had slightly messed with the dynamic for five minutes whilst we settled down again. But the scrum was still our area to boss - great scrum before getting the ball out to JJ who ran it in for try number six. Yet another missed kick from Harvey, by a few inches again.
Our seventh try started from a great run from new lad Lucas. He's had several tries already for Tows and his run today was very good - he then popped it off to Bailey who ran it in hard before a pass to Deamer who went on to score another try. In this phase, Harvey had taken a whack to his nether region and needed a few minutes to compose himself! Jacob stepped up to kick, smack bang in the middle of the posts. We'll blame the wind, but he missed - hitting the upright!
Our final score was based on strong pack work and pods before Joe ran hard at their defence. They struggled to contain him and once Deamer had it, he was away - three tries today from Deamer and a deserved 'Man of the Match' accolade awarded by the gaffer. Harvey kicked the conversion and we were 0-44 up and ten minutes to play.
Their team was beaten up. A dislocated finger, some big hits and injuries, they felt they couldn't finish the game so called it. A shame because we wanted 50 points, but to score 44 even missing six conversions without conceding a single point was a great result. Well done lads.