Stanford 25 v 22 May and Bakers
VISITING the Rec this weekend was May & Baker whilst the two teams have enjoyed some good games in the past Bakers have recently always had the upper hand. The question was with Stanford’s current form could they cause an upset which would really prove that they have come a long way since last season.
Stanford started off with a good strong run, forcing an immediate error from Bakers allowing Stanford to set the ball and release the backs to run at the Bakers defence. Over exuberance from Stanford’s Inside centre Matthew Rumble lead to a Bakers interception and a sprint under the Stanford posts from their own 22 metre line in less than a 1 minute of play and an easy conversion followed.
This mishap stunned the Stanford players but where once they would have be critical of each other now they just shrugged off the error and marched back to the centre of the pitch to start the game again. Rumble again was pin point accurate with his restart and Liam Morley was onto the ball before anyone else. Morley broke several tackles and the 2nd try of the game came, in as many minutes, bringing Stanford back within two points as the conversion was missed.
Bakers are a good side, and when they have the ball are very hard to disposes. They proved this in the next few minutes by some very good plays which push Stanford back towards their line. Stanford dug deep and forced the play out wide but Bakers had created the overlap and after 8 minutes of play scored out wide but missed the following conversion.
Having conceded the early try Stanford turned around and knew that they could get back on terms with their visitors. A good chase from the kick off pinned down Bakers just outside their 22 and continued pressure pushed Bakers towards the far touch line. Turning over the ball in the ruck Stanford went down the blind side but were forced into touch just 5 metres out. Bakers set themselves to clear their lines but the Stanford line had other ideas. Disrupting the Bakers jumper Stanford profited and all 8 men of the pack surged forward. Crossing the line with a very impressive drive Joe McCallum had the final touch, for a well-deserved try after coming so close over the last few weeks. Ash Smith stepped up and added the extra two points, bringing the scores level at 12 all.
So far the game had been end to end and very competitive, Bakers were playing their part and were once again crossing the Stanford line only 3 minutes after Stanford had brought the scores level, the conversion was once again missed.
With only 10 minutes of the first half to play Stanford were awarded a penalty out wide. Smith stepped up but his kick came back off the post. Sam Herbert was first to the rebound and drove towards the Bakers line. With continued pressure Bakers conceded another penalty this time Smith was on target bring the score to 15 – 17 in favour of Bakers which is where the first half-finished.
The second half started how the first had begun, with Bakers crossing the Stanford line,it has to be said far too easily, but this gave the Stanford side the wake up they needed.
The ref taking charge of his first Essex Spitefire league game had controlled the game well up to this point and now he really had to play his part in the game by keeping the game from really boiling over, as both teams fought to get control. Danny Jackson had been a problem for the Bakers pack all
through the first half and he continued this into the 2nd half by disrupting lineout ball, making big hits, and steeling ball in the tight. The platform was being set was something special from Stanford. Off the back of a ruck Herbert fed Ash Smith who cut a perfect line taking Stanford up to within 5 metres of the Bakers, line only to be dragged down by a very good cover tackle. Bakers ripped the ball as Smith had to release the ball but the chasing Stanford players cut down the Baker’s player who then held onto the ball whilst waiting for his support to arrive. From the Penalty Reece Anderson took three players on only to be dropped inches from the line, Morley was quick to the ball as it came back and powered over on 10 minutes. Smith having set the try up then added the following two points to bring the score back to 22 all.
The game became an even closer affair as both teams made harder and harder hits really testing each other to the full. With the game evenly poised Stanford were awarded a penalty which Ash Smith stepped up and calmly put Stanford into the lead.
Bakers were nowhere near done, they came back at Stanford even harder. As the game closed out Stanford were defending and attacking with all their might, they had the lead and were only going to give it up to something very special. Thankfully Bakers were unable to claw back the points and as the final whistle went the Stanford players could be seen jumping for joy as they had fought hard and deserved the win 25 -22
Next week Stanford is on the road with a trip to Brightingsea.