Bancroft 1st XV (19) – Stanford 1st XV (31)
Stanford power into the Cup Semi finals
A GREAT start by Stanford from the kick off, their pressure was rewarded with a penalty after two minutes. Calum Reid lined up the kick but the official deemed the kicked hadn’t dissected the post, no complaints from Stanford they just set themselves for the restart. Stanford was definitely putting Bancroft under pressure, as they got close several times, Bancroft’s excellent cover defence forced some poor decision making by Stanford and the attacks broke down. After 25 minutes of play Stanford finally put the first points on the board with a Reid Penalty kick.
The game was a very competitive with being made under pressure by both sides. Bancroft capitalised on one of these errors when Stanford’s passing along the line resulted in a knock on and Bancroft used the advantage well to run in the first try of the game and converted. Only minutes later Stanford was attacking but again knocked on right in front of the posts. As Bancroft won their scrum and went to clear their lines, Stanford’s scrum half Dominic McDonald scragged the Bancroft 9 who spilled the ball, McDonald reactions were quick and as the ball was flying loose he snatched it up and dived in under the posts. Reid made light work of the conversion. The first half closed with Stanford leading their hosts 7 -10.
As the 2nd half started both sides stepped up a gear and the frantic play opened up the spaces. Bancroft was the first side to find the space on offer and ran in an early try and conversion. As the open play had gone one way then the other so was the scoring. Stanford now found the space and McDonald lead his side cutting through the holes. Stanford linked the play with quick ball and it was McDonald who finished off what he had started as he crossed the Bancroft line. Reid again added the extra points.
The next score came from Bancroft after they were camped on the Stanford line. Bancroft was putting Stanford under immense pressure and it was only time before they powered their way over the Stanford line to taking the lead once again. Stanford was fighting hard and from a scrum mid pitch McDonald again found the space, he drew his player off loaded to Alistair McDonald who then shipped onto Nick Sharp. Sharp out sprinted his opposite number and scored for his side. From wide out Reid had a difficult kick but slotted the ball just over the cross bar.
Minutes later almost a carbon copy move off another scrum, saw Sharp skirt the touch line to score in the corner. Reid with an even harder kick was accurate with the boot, taking Stanford more than a converted try ahead. The last two minutes of the game saw Bancroft camped on the Stanford line but the determination and team passion held back the Bancroft attack and when they finally did cross the line, the Stanford players put their bodies on the line to get underneath the ball to deny Bancroft a last minute try.
Stanford’s man of the match goes to Ash Smith for his tireless performance in the front row and his hard work in the open play. Special mention must go to Harry Tillett making his 1st team debut with a very good performance, definitely one for the future.
Stanford U13s (55) v Chelmsford U13s (0)
A sun bathed Stanford rec was the venue for the u13s game against Chelmsford, little did anyone know that the storm clouds had gathered for the visitors.
Two minutes into the game saw outside centre Joe Harding in space and with a turn of pace quickly put the home side into the lead. It was a welcome return for Joe, his first game back from an injury at the seasons start, his partnership with inside centre established immediately and the electrifying pace of the pair gave the visitors no respite.
As usual Stanford’s excellent hard working pack provided so much platform and turnover ball with 2nd row Arron Cecil being a menace all over the pitch, set plays saw hooker Tom Stewart excel. With such quality service the back confidence grew which resulted in a hat trick of tries for Harding and one a piece for Jonas Mendoza and Owen Riley, Hooker Stewart converted two.
The second half was much the same, although much credit must go to the visitors tackling, Stanford went through a quiet period until they realised they needed to support all attacks, that done the tries returned. Harding scored another two and Mendoza one, right wing Reece Harper scored his first try, it was richly deserved after continuous good support throughout the game, he received the ball on the oppositions 22 and with 3 Chelmsford backs breathing down his neck raced for the line to touch down just as he was caught. Owen Riley converted 3.
It was a very mature performance from the Stanford lads who are growing in confidence every game.