Rugby Union
Slow start ruins Saints’ hopes

By Jamie Arrowsmith 22/02 Updated: 22/02 12:16

Stamford 30 Rugby St Andrews 10

Midlands Three East (South)

SAINTS never recovered from a slow start on Saturday as they fell to a defeat which all but ended their slim promotion hopes.

The visitors were forced into a number of changes as they took to the field for the first time in three weeks, and they fully expected a tough test against a Stamford side who started the day beneath them in the table but ended it ahead.

Stamford stormed into a 17-0 lead after 13 minutes as Saints made a poor start for which they were made to pay.

Saints argued the tries were helped by a forward pass and an off-side decision going against them but that does not alter the fact the first line of defence missed too many tackles, allowing Stamford to make good ground.

They did not learn from their mistakes either as they seemed reluctant to tackle their strong running hosts around their ankles.

Further controversy followed but this time in Saints favour when a catch and drive from a line-out was not contested as Stamford complained of obstruction but Mark Brightwell did not turn down the chance of crossing in the corner. Once awarded, the referee agreed he should have penalised the visitors for ‘truck and trailer’ but the points had been registered.

Sam White thought he had added a second score for Saints just before the break when squeezing over in the corner but the referee ruled he was in touch and blew for half time.

Stamford scored the bonus point try within four minutes of the restart before stalemate followed as both sides made breaks but were unable to cross.

A 65th minute Stamford penalty got the scoreboard moving again before Saints responded with five minutes left when Jamie Clynes’ cross-kick was gathered by replacement winger Will Headley to touch down. The hosts again debated the try, claiming the ball had been knocked on before it had been grounded.

The final word went to Stamford when they scored immediately from the restart and although Saints enjoyed some late pressure, they were unable to cross again.

Saints will aim to bounce back when they entertain Northampton Casuals tomorrow in the first of three successive home games.

THE 2nds were beaten 74-3 by Rugby Wanderers and the 3rds went down 17-5 against Coventry Welsh 2nds. There was also defeat for the Colts who lost 27-10 at Nuneaton Old Eds.

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