Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Rugby: Stanford stand firm against Brentwood

Stanford 2s 40 v 13 Old Brentwood 3s

ALWAYS a tough game between these two sides but Stanford was coming off the back of some very strong performances and the team confidence was high.

Old Brentwoods had a much larger pack than Stanford and the set piece scrums were extremely difficult for the Stanford pack. For the first five minutes of the match Stanford was just about withstanding the constant pressure but having been pulled one way then the next they succumb to the Old B’s power and the visitors opened the scoring.

Stanford may have been under pressure in the pack but they worked out that quick ball was the answer and scrum half Ashley Downes spun the ball out to the backs. first Kyle Munro made a darting run, off loading to Michael Kite who finished off the move to bring the scores level. Kite then added the extra two points to take Stanford ahead 7 – 5.

The game was very much to and fro and Old B’s were next to score through their big forwards but couldn’t add the extra points.

As if a script had been laid down it was Stanford who scored next through Aaron Smith’s fast pace and quick feet and he danced his way through the Old B’s defence and spun over the line. Stanford was back in front 12 -10 and that is how the first half came to close.

The second half continued how the first had finished with both sides attacking and defending in turn. As Old B’s attacked just on 10 minutes in the Stanford half, the home side was penalised for laying over the ball, as the penalty was given an altercation started up and once it calmed down Old B’s were shown a yellow taking them down to 14 men. With the penalty in front of the posts Old B’s made short work of the 3 point score 12 – 13 to the visitors.

Stanford now went on the rampage and the rugby that followed was skilfully and controlled. The forwards were now holding the bigger pack and the backs were finding room with great running lines and supporting play.

The next try came from Calum Reid when he kicked to clear chasing his lofted ball he caught it and sprinted clear to go in under the posts. Kite stepped up and added the extra points. 19 -13

Munro was popping up everywhere and as he stepped into an attacking play inside the Stanford half he wrong footed 4 attempted tackles to weave his way under posts. Jacob Cushing playing his very first senior game stepped up and slotted the conversion 26 -13.

The backs were getting fast ball and with their fast pace it was another great running line by Dan McIntosh playing his first game back after a long time who cut the line that saw him out sprint the Old B’s backs to touch down. Cushing stepped up and double his own tally taking Stanford to 33 -13.

Only one minute after McIntosh had crossed the line Kite was touching down for his 2nd of the game and added the conversion with a little help from the upright 40-13. Stanford had put the game out of sight from their visitors and took the final whistle with a clear 40 – 13 win.

Stanford had kicked into another gear in the 2nd half and a lot of credit had to be given to Jacob Cushing on his debut, with deft kicking and chasing, outstanding tackling and constant support play, all that he needed to round off his debut performance was a try to go with his 4 points but sadly he wasn’t able to end a fairy tale performance but was awarded a well deserved Man of the Match.

Stanford u15s (31) – Rochford u15s (24)

Perfect conditions for rugby and the guarantee of a hard close game as each meeting between these two sides have always been keenly contested.

Stanford were pumped up for their last league game of the season and it was evident from the start as Stanford kicked off and pinned Rochford back. A fantastic move ended with Stanford knocking on and conceding a scrum but Sean Loughran wasn’t about to relax the pressure and with a quick hook won the ball against the head. The ball was spun out to Joe Duligall who used his speed and quick feet to run in under the post. Duligall then added the extra two points.

A brief moment saw Rochford cross into the Stanford half but it was only fleeting. Stanford pushed the play towards the Rochford line. with a well structured rolling maul. The move broke down to a ruck from which Ross Gale picked up and drove low and hard to dive over the line.

From the kick off Rochford battled hard on their defence and kept Stanford at bay for a short while. Stanford were awarded a scrum about 8 metres out. The solid base gave Ben Kersch-Hunt at eight the opportunity to pick up the ball and fend off the Rochford flanker with a strong arm. Kersch- Hunt was just dragged back from the line but his fellow forwards piled in and scrum half Matthew Hook took clean ball and snipped over the line. A wide out kick was made to look so easy by Duligall as he added the extra points.

Rochford started to have more ball time but the Stanford defence was not creaking and held Rochford away from the line. Not only did Stanford soak up the pressure they broke free and ran the length of the pitch after an excellent clearance kick. An awarded scrum to Rochford had them battling to clear their lines, a kick was bravely charged down by Jack Knight and Harvey Cassidy didn’t need to be asked twice scoping up the ball and strong arming his way over the line.

Stanford up to now where clear favourites to run away with the game but Rochford had other ideas and came back with two quick tries in 2 minutes to bring them back into the game closing the half out at 24 -10 to Stanford.

As the 2nd half started Rochford had a taste for scoring ties and ran in two converted tries the first after 2minutes the 2nd after 15. Rochford had pulled themselves back level with Stanford at 24 -24 with the last quarter of the game to play. The game now whipped one-way and then back the other and was one of the most intense endings to any league game this season.

With just one minute of the game left Stanford had battled their way within metres of the Rochford line. A scrum to Stanford gave them the perfect chance to close the game out. As Stanford tried to move the ball through the hands Rochford threw everything at Stanford including the kitchen sink. A desperate fight between attack and defence ensued until Harvey Cassidy dived over the line at ankle level. The game won with no time left Zack Burdett stepped up and not waiting for the kicking tee drop kicked the ball cleanly through the uprights from way out close to the touch line. Stanford were victorious 31 -24.

Stanford’s captain Matthew Hook was awarded Stanford’s man of the match for his total committed play, his control of the forwards and his overall team leadership.


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