Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Rugby: Stanford go down fighting in President’s Shield

STANFORD 1st XV were taking on Essex 1 league promotion winners Ilford Wanderers in the President Shield but the attitude despite being clear underdogs was one of confidence.

From the off Stanford pushed forward making Ilford aware that they were not just there to make up the numbers. Some good early attacks showed Stanford’s intent but they were pushed back into their own half by a relieving penalty kick from Ilford. From their line our Ilford quickly formed a strong rolling maul and their heavy pack pushed over for the first try of the day, with the conversion to follow.

Ilford for the time being had the ascendancy but Stanford stood firm in defence keeping Ilford away from their line. After a long spell of good defensive work Stanford were again defending another rolling maul but this time they were to have a judged to have collapsed the play and so Ilford were awarded a penalty try and an easy conversion.

Stanford now picked up the pace and was playing most of the rugby inside the Ilford half. As Stanford built momentum they were again penalised for pulling down an Ilford set play and Matt Rumble was shown a yellow card. Down to 10 men Stanford upped their work rate but as they battled on a space opened up and Ilford ran in under the posts.

Stanford still had confidence that they could pull the game back and with the defensive line really putting pressure on the Ilford attack they forced a fumble pass which Kye Holloway bounced on and sprinted half the pitch out pacing three chasing Ilford players to dab down under the posts. Calum Reid took no time with the conversion to add the extra points.

Stanford’s pressure was building and just before they were restored to 15 players, Ilford was shown a yellow card for persistent infringements. As the 2nd half got under way and with Stanford on the attack Sam Dixon was gave way for Dan May. With an attacking lineout Stanford’s Dominic McDonald took full advantage of Ilford’s defensive confusion weaving his way through the heart of the Ilford forwards to run in a try.

With 25 minutes of play Stanford brought on the fresh legs of Sonny Smith, Joe Grace and Lewis Cross. Ilford’s forward dominance was starting to tell and their tight 8 kept to constant pressure on. Despite Stanford’s sterling efforts to keep Ilford at bay they couldn’t and conceded two quick tries.

As the final whistle blew Ilford had taken a well-earned hard fought victory with a 35 -12 win. There was no disgrace in how Stanford had performed they had given absolutely everything and the huge travelling Stanford support cheered them off the pitch.

To everyone that has pulled on a first team jersey and has supported the first team this season a massive thank you for all your hard work and commitment, this season is only a stepping stone to greater things.


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