Thursday, February 9, 2023

Rugby: Stanford lay siege to the Vikings

Benfleet Vikings (0) – Stanford 1st XV (46)

STANFORD started off strongly from the kick off keeping Vikings pinned back around their 22. Benfleet’s initial defence held firm but as Stanford attacked a large space at the back opened up which fly half Calum Reid saw. Putting a good cross field kick in winger Nick Sharp read the play well and made light work of the chase and ran in behind the posts. Reid added the extra points, 0 – 7 to Stanford.

It was only a matter of minutes later that Sharp was once again darting his way through the defence to score after he had been fed a well-timed pass off the back of a scrum, 0 – 12. With majority of the ball Stanford were making Benfleet defend and they did this with great determination. Stanford was moving the ball around and if anything they were trying too hard and making some uncharacteristic handling errors. It was Alistair MacDonald who crossed the Benfleet line next as he came in on a great inside ball with Reid adding the extra two points Stanford were 0 – 19 in the lead. From the restart Stanford pushed back in to the Benfleet half and as the forwards drove forward the ball was put into the hands of Kyle Munro who bounced his way over the line, 0 – 24. Stanford was now playing through the phases and their ball control and decision making was very good. As the half hour ticked over Ricky Percival smashed through to score putting the visitors 0 – 29. On the stroke of half time Macdonald scored his 2nd off a set play scrum and Reid added the extra 2 to close the half out at 0 – 36 to Stanford.

As Benfleet started the 2nd half the ball was caught and run back into the homes side half of the pitch. With a fluid motion the ball was kept alive with winger Jacob Cushing taking the final pass. Cushing had to spin, turn and drive hard over the line but his determination was evident. 0 – 41 to Stanford after just 2 minutes of play in the 2nd half. Again from the restart Stanford recycled the ball and one of the best passages ball play saw Stanford pop and pass all their way down the pitch with MacDonald crossing the line for his hat trick 0 – 46.

As Stanford continued to attack the brave defending from Benfleet was always present. Just as Stanford was edging close to the Benfleet line one of the home side players put his all into a break down. Immediately players from both side knew that the Benfleet player had sustain a very serious injury and called for a halt to the game and immediate medical attention. There was no thought of the game being continued due to the nature of the injury, so with Stanford leading 0 – 46 the game was award to Stanford. All Stanford RFC wish the player a full recovery.

Cheshunt u16s (47) – Stanford u16s (25)

Kicking off with the slope Stanford made good use of the gradient and just after 2 minutes Ben Kelly sent a ball down field for Zack Burdett to chase onto. Burdett pressurised the full back and took control of the ball to open the scoring. Stanford was out of the blocks and running, just on 10 minutes of play Matthew Hook finished off good forwards pressure, when he stepped and dived over the line, to take the visitors 10 points clear.

Cheshunt are not a team you should turn your back on and with some ill-discipline and lack of urgency from Stanford, Cheshunt was soon back on level terms and then moved past them on the score board. Cheshunt’s fast runners and power full forward movements put Stanford on the back foot and were left in the home sides wake. Half time couldn’t come soon enough for Stanford with the score at 33 – 10 in favour of Cheshunt.

A re grouping at half time and some strong encouragement saw the Stanford team start playing with much more determination and cohesion. The Stanford pack kept the ball close and worked their way back up field and as they edged ever closer Matthew Hook broke free and scored his 2nd of the day. The 2nd half was much more evenly matched with Stanford playing with renewed vigour up the slope. Jake Tottman playing at outside centre was the next to score after he came in on a very strong run, shrugging off a high tackle Tottman dived for the line to earn his side some extra points.

The game had stepped up a pace from the first half and Cheshunt were made to work extremely hard for their next two tries but score they did with some impressive forwards and backs play.

As the time ticked away it was Stanford who had the last word of the match with Ben Kelly who had been absolutely outstanding during the game crossing the line just on full time. The final score 47 – 25 to Cheshunt, 7 tries to 5, Stanford had stepped up in the second half and scoring more tries than their hosts it’s just a shame that the intensity had not been at that level for the whole game. Stanford’s man of the match was Ben Kelly, his kicking options, distribution and powerful line breaks made a massive difference to his sides play.

Stanford u12s (30) – Chingford u12s (0) Match One

Charlie Baker (2), Jerome Sagomba (1), Alfie Rawe (1), Joshua Early (1) and Owen Harris (1)

Stanford u12s (25) – Chingford u12s (5) Match Two

Daniel Hook (3), Joshua Maskell (1) and Alfie Rawe (10

Stanford’s player of the day Owen Harris


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