RUGBY UNION: ‘We’re a good side and shouldn’t fear anybody’
Bourne ended 2017 on a high by finishing on the right side of Saturday’s derby.
Having lost two games in a short period of time to rivals Deepings, they made the trip to Stamford wary that the form book often gets torn up for games of such nature.
With the support of a decent crowd, Stamford College Old Boys started with real intent and quickly drove Bourne’s defence backwards.
Bourne didn’t look ready and early missed tackles put them under unnecessary pressure.
Although the visitors conceded an early penalty and slipped behind 3-0, the break in play seemed a welcome chance to regroup and from the restart they quickly upped their efforts.
Props Chris Greenwood and Chris Wheeler played their parts with some hard work around the breakdown but it was the back row of Adam Binns, skipper Tom Dixon and the man of the match Sion Williams who stood out.
Against the wind on a narrow pitch, the Bourne pack worked hard to maintain possession and although yards were hard to come by, their effective recycling gave the backs a good platform as the away side made progress.
Having worked their way upfield with some well-built phases, Bourne eventually shipped the ball to the right wing where the in-form Jack Lagdon stepped inside two men to finish some simple rugby.
Scrum-half Evison added the conversion and Bourne had a slender lead.
It wasn’t long, though, before the home team went back in front.
Bourne were deemed to have lost their discipline after scoring their opening try and Stamford were awarded a penalty to restart the game.
Kicking long into the corner they attempted to roll a maul into the corner.
Having failed once, they were awarded another penalty and this time they came away with the result they wanted as the pack drove over and grounded the ball.
With the conversion added it was the home team’s turn to have a narrow lead at 10-7.
Stamford failed to make touch with a clearance kick which Bourne full-back Jack Berry gathered on the halfway line and threw a long pass infield to lock Andrew Brown who found player-coach Dave Maudsley in midfield. He made yards before cutting through the first line of defenders and feeding Dixon who angled back against the remaining defenders to touch down.
Evison added the extras once again and Bourne turned round 14-10 up.
At the start of the second half, Evison slotted a penalty to take the visitors further ahead.
Having shipped the ball wide a number of times, Maudsley hit centre Sam Harby at close range.
He initially found plenty of space and even when this disappeared he was able to shrug off defenders as he got closer to the line.
Eventually pulled down just yards short, the Bourne pack in close support set a ruck which Stamford seemed destined to disrupt.
The ball shot out of the side and appeared at the feet of Lagdon holding his position out on the wing. Unable to believe his luck, he gathered the ball and dropped over the line for his second try.
The conversion was missed but Evison added another three penalties.
From a scrum at the last play of the game, the backs ran a move with Maudsley throwing a wide pass to get Berry running at the last defender with Lagdon outside him poised for his hat-trick.
Lagdon needlessly cut inside and met the cover defence.
In their desperation to thwart Bourne’s final attack Stamford slipped up at the ruck and gave away another penalty.
Berry reacted quicker than anyone and crossed from five metres out with Evison missing the conversion.
Maudsley said: “Credit to Stamford – they were as good a side as we’ve played this year.
“I know they have a number of players missing and that can be the only reason they aren’t higher in the league.
“The lads got what they deserved – all season they’ve trained hard, made themselves available and regularly put in decent performances.
“On our day we’re a good side and shouldn’t fear anybody.”