Friday, February 3, 2023

Rugby: Stanford brittle against Writtle

Stanford 1st XV (20) – Writtle 1st XV (25)

When Stanford visited Writtle earlier in the season Writtle stole the win with a try right on full time, so Stanford were keen to redress the balance at home. It started well for Stanford when they found themselves just metres from the Writtle line with an attacking line out. Writtle rose first and hit the ball down to their 9 who fumbled the ball backwards giving Stanford half a chance to get a boot to the ball and hack it forward into the Writtle in goal area. Ryan Edgeway out muscled and ran the stunned Writtle defence, to ground the ball for Stanford. Nick Sharp taking over kicking duties for the day was inch perfect from wide out putting Stanford ahead 7 – 0. It was Sharp who extended Stanford’s lead to 10 when he made short work of a Penalty kick taking his side 10 – 0 ahead.

Writtle were soon back at Stanford after the restart gaining an attacking line out of their own just metres out from the Stanford line. From the line out Writtle set a strong rolling maul that Stanford didn’t deal with and Writtle trundled over the line for their first try of the game. Writtle’s heads were now up and they made light work of some slow defence and weak tackles from Stanford levelling the score with only 20minutes of the first half played.

The score remained all level 10 apiece at half time.

The 2nd half started with Writtle in possession and attacking fast, as they switched the direction of play it left Stanford exposed wide out and Writtle got their third try of the game. With Writtle’s kicker clearly not on form the visitors only lead by 5 points. The next phase of attack was Stanford’s and as full back Jamie Lake almost broke free the Writtle defence was penalised and a yellow card shown for a high tackle, taking them down to 14 men. Stanford battle hard and using the extra man worked their way up field. Earlier it was Writtle that wrong footed the defensive line but this time Stanford’s Dominic McDonald Stepped back outside and sent Jacob Cushing crashing for the line. Cushing had a fair amount of attention from the Writtle defence but determination, strength and a helping push from the forwards helped him ground the ball for his first senior 1st team try.

Just as Writtle was brought back to full strength it was Stanford’s turn to be taken down to 14 men with Liam Morley being sent from the field for having hands in the ruck. Stanford stepped up to the challenge and repelled Writtle’s attacks during the sin bin period and just as the time had elapsed Writtle barrelled over for a fourth try taking them 3 points ahead.

With the score line yo-yoing back and forth the pressure kick came Stanford’s way with just 4 minutes left on the clock. A very tricky wide out Penalty kick was awarded and Sharp steadied himself, launched a huge kick and dropped the ball over the bar to tie the score 20 all.

With just minutes left to play Writtle attacked and were awarded a penalty around the Stanford 22 metre line. Writtle didn’t waste time taking a moving tap penalty they ran through the back tracking Stanford defence and again Stanford had conceded in the dying minutes of the game losing 20 -25.

Stanford awarded Nick Sharp their Man of the Match for a good all round performance.

Stanford 2nds (31) – Eaton Manor 4s (24)

No match report

Peterborough Ladies (31) – Stanford Sirens (0)

The Sirens arrived at Peterborough with only 10 players and were under pressure from the start letting in 3 tries out wide. Lisa Gounden then turned up and evened the numbers. Things started to go better. Vicky Matthews and fly half Stephanie Macintosh made a few trade mark breaks through the middle. Sophie Davies, Heidi Rumble and Georgina Kreysa made life hard for the opposition at every breakdown and forced many turnovers. Just before half time Matthews took a blow to the head and Lou Grimwood’s physicality lead to her receiving a huge black eye meaning the visitors were down to 9 and unable to play. Full credit to Peterborough, they learnt the Sirens a player and called the game at 31-0. The 2nd half was to be a friendly. Well worth continuing after the 2 month Christmas break. Bethany Seaman showed a spark making numerous darting runs. Chloe and Lisa Gounden leading their experience to put her into space. Danielle Harris found her calling in the pack, constantly applying pressure throughout the game. Kate Mitchell found a gap at one point to score Stanford’s solitary try.

Players of the match were Bethany Seaman for her superb line breaks and some immense tackles. And Georgina Kreysa for her super human tackle rate. Final score stood at 31-0

Ipswich u16s (55) – Stanford u16s (12)

170 mile round trip to play a game of rugby on a Sunday may seem too far to go but Stanford u16’s strong supportive parents made sure that Stanford travelled with 18 players to Ipswich YM in the cup.

The first half score line wise was all YM but territory was all Stanford. Very easily the lion share of the game was played in the Ipswich half but Stanford just couldn’t pass the strong defence that Ipswich maintained. When Stanford made some uncharacteristic error YM pounced each time. Both packs were competitive but YM’s wingers were just too fast for the Stanford defence and the home side ran four tries in the first half all from their own half.

At half time Stanford rang the changes with Rhys Dell (very under the weather but gave his all), Jarrad Williams and Jack Pidgeon, giving way for team mates Kamren Boyles, Jack Clifford and Ben Kersch-Hunt to come onto the field.

The second half didn’t start well for Stanford as handling errors from the restart allowed YM to camp close to the Stanford line and it was only a matter of time before they crossed the line for a YM engineered try. Minutes later YM scored again.

Stanford knew the score line was far too great to come back from but they have a never say never die hard attitude and had shown all game that they could play good rugby. A good kick and chase put YM on the back foot and gave a penalty away just on their 5 metre line. The Stanford forwards push the ball up at first then centre Ross Gale smashed his way closer on a well-timed run. Scrum Half Matthew Hook quickly released Fly half Ben Kelly who timed his off load to perfection onto Max Buckley. Buckley still had two YM players to beat but his pace and quick feet made light work of the defence to bring Stanford onto the board.

YM replied with a good try of the own to push the score line out again just after the restart. The Stanford spirit was still fighting and another excellent running and chasing attack lead to Stanford aim for the YM line. This time it was all forwards play with big power solo runs edging ever nearer. With momentum in Stanford’s favour Ben Kersch-Hunt could smell the try line and his text book low drive backed up by his team mates gave Stanford another well-deserved try. Zack Burdett took one look at the posts waved away the kicking tee and slotted a drop goal conversion form almost on the touchline.

The final score line of 55 -12 reflected the fact that YM are a good team who never stop to say thank you for a free ball and why should that is part of rugby when the chances are there you take them, but what the score line doesn’t say is how hard the Stanford side worked and battled to the end. Stanford’s player of the match was Jack Knight, again majestic in the air and strong in the open play.


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