Thursday, June 13, 2024

Rugby: Christmas comes early for Stanford with two home wins.

STANFORD 1st XV played hosts to third in the league Burnham-On-Crouch and having played them earlier in the season away, they knew to expect a very hard game.

Stanford welcomed back from injury their influential Captain Liam Morley who took no time in showing the intent in which Stanford were going to play. From the off Morley collected a high ball and went route one taking Stanford into the Burnham half and that is where they stayed for a long period. The confidence that Stanford showed was evident when they turned down several kicks at the posts to open the scoring. It all paid off when Morley started a powerful run backed up by the pack, which he then finished off to cement his return to the side.

Calum Reid was perfect from the tee and added the extra points. Minutes later Reid slotted a penalty to edge the home side further away. Stanford’s defence was outstanding and when Burnham did get close to their line they driven back time and again. Burnham was being forced to kick possession away because of the strength of the Stanford defence.

One such kick was caught by Mark O’Connell who had anticipated it well and from just inside his own five metre line gave the ball an almighty hoof. Wind assisted saw the ball sail well into the Burnham half before bouncing, it then carried on at pace towards the in goal area. The Burnham players covering back all assumed that the ball traveling at such pace would cross the dead ball line, what they didn’t allow for was O’Connell who had chased his kick sprinting past all other players and touching down the ball just a few feet from the dead ball line. Reid slotted the points.

The second half was again Stanford’s game, they knew that Burnham was not beaten and they most certainly came back at the home side but yet again. Some outstanding play by Danny Jackson, Matt Hornsby and Man of the Match Ryan Edgeway made sure that Burnham were kept at bay. As the 2nd half ticked away Burnham’s defence held firm but after sustained pressure Stanford crossed the line again, with Ryan Slaney scoring his first senior try for the club. The Stanford 1st XV totally deserved their 24 – 0 win, which had been lacking now for the last few games.

On the adjoining pitch Stanford 2nd XV was in very tough Merit league game against Ilford 3s. Like the 1st XV they had been lacking a win of late but maybe spurred on by the great home support or the fact that both teams were at home, the 2nd XV played some of their best rugby this season. Ross Noakes returning to the club after several seasons away up North and Dominic McDonald were both singled out by Captain Paul Newberry for their selfless attitude agreeing to play out of position and both having an absolute outstanding games. Stanford 2nd XV took a well-earned victory with a win of 47 -19 and every player who took to the field had played their part is the win, truly a strong team effort.

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