Stanford 1st XV (39) v 19 Clacton 1st XV
THE nearly men Stanford were keen to prove that the last few games were only a build up to better times ahead, and they proved that they have what it takes.
In the opening minute Calum Reid put Stanford on the front foot with an accurate penalty kick setting off the home side in a positive way. The heavy rain of recent had left the pitch soft under foot so when Clacton had an attacking scrum just metres from the Stanford line the heavier away pack was able to slide the home side over the line to score after 8 minutes of play.
The next score came from Stanford’s Reece Anderson when he powered over after an excellent kick and chase with Anderson following up onto the ensuing break down taking a well timed pass and beating off his tacklers. Reid stepped up and slotted the extra points. It wasn’t long before Stanford scored again when Liam Morley put in a huge tackle and Alistair MacDonald caught the spilled ball. MacDonald then out sprinted the covering defence to score under the posts. Reid was once again accurate with his kick. Morley was soon to become scorer rather than provider when Dominic McDonald broke free from the back of a scrum. Drawing his man McDonald popped to Morley who handed off two Clacton tackle attempts and stepped out of a third to score over in the corner.
Clacton drew a score back just before half time when then again pushed the Stanford pack over the line and converted their try. On the stroke of half time Clacton were penalised for a high tackle and Reid didn’t need any encouragement to kick the points for his side giving them a half time lead of 25 – 12.
The first half had been an exciting game between to very competitive sides so when Clacton opened the scoring with a try and conversion just after 3 minutes of the second half, it was setting up the game for more hard play. Stanford scored next when Sonny Smith went on a hard run into the depths of the Clacton line making hard yards. McDonald quickly spread the ball wide and Morley once again used his strength to just hold off the cover tackle from an old Stanford player Elliot Shuttleworth now playing for Clacton. Reid kicked the points from his hardest angle of the day.
Reid had battled on despite a huge hit to his knee but with 17 minutes left to play he gave way to allow Jared Gounden onto the pitch. Both sides were still fighting hard for possession of the ball so when Stanford were awarded a penalty five metres from the Clacton line the visitors threw everything into defence and it took Stanford four attempts to cross the line with McDonald dummying a pass and cutting back inside to sniped under for a try. Kye Holloway took over the kicking duties in the absence of Reid and added the extra two points.
The final score gave the home side a well-deserved but hard fought victory 39 -19. Stanford’s man of the match was awarded to Ryan Edgeway.