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 Late tries take Oakham to victory in local derby



 Stamford 1st XV 12
Oakham 1st XV 24

 

This eagerly anticipated local derby promised to be a close affair with both teams determined to reverse heavy defeats in their opening league fixtures.

 

Winning the toss Oakham chose to play up the slope and against the wind in the first half, having learned a lesson from last year, realising the slope could be worth as much as a ten point advantage in the second half.

 

The early exchanges saw both defences difficult to break down and some excellent tackling from both sides snuffing out attacks and forcing turnovers and errors. Both sides creating scoring opportunities but were denied by the defences.  

 

Stamford were cleverly pinning Oakham into their own 22 with kicks to the corner. With twenty minutes gone Oakham defended a five-metre scrum on their own line but some great midfield aggressive tackling finally forced a turnover and the visitors managed to clear their lines. 

 

Oakham then experienced a period of possession as Matt Lamin forced his way upfield, Stamford conceded a penalty at the breakdown and Oakham launched the kick deep into their opponents' twenty-two forcing a lineout ten metres out. 

 

A fine catch and drive saw Stee Vukinavanua latch onto the ball to crash over for an unconverted try 0-5 with twenty-five minutes played. 

 

Home side stung into action

Stamford were stung into action and from the kick off launched a series of drives pinning Oakham into their twenty-two. Despite defending for their lives, the sustained Stamford pressure eventually told and Ben Turnbull was sent to the sin bin for hands in the ruck just metres from the Oakham line preventing a Stamford score. 

 

From the ensuing penalty Stamford drove again at the Oakham defence forcing their way over to level the scores with an unconverted try 5-5 just on the stroke of half time.

 

Despite being a man down Oakham were confident going into the second half that the longer the game went on the effect of the slope and wind would eventually give them an edge.  Stamford started the second half taking advantage of their extra man, driving Oakham back the scrums and forcing them onto the back foot.

 

Somehow Oakham managed to keep the home side at bay when a score looked inevitable. With Ben Turnbull now restored to the ranks Oakham’s scrum began to dominate resulting in being awarded a penalty which Callum Crellin sent deep into Stamford’s twenty-two. 

 

Another catch and drive from the lineout saw Vukinavanua repeat his earlier efforts to force his way over for his second try converted by Callum Crellin 5-12 five minutes into the second half. 

 

Stamford respond again

Stamford responded again, retaining the ball for long periods as they hammered away at the Oakham defence before eventually forcing their way over to level the scores with a converted try 12-12 with twenty minutes to go and all to play for.

 

It was Oakham who then broke the deadlock as Charlie Mays put in a clever kick to the corner forcing the home side to carry over their own line to prevent an Oakham score. From the five-metre scrum Oakham set up a series of forward attacks before switching the ball to the backs.

 

Oakham soon back in front 

 

Left wing Glenn Vakalalabure found himself in some space, then cut back inside, beating several defenders before touching down to restore Oakham’s lead at 12-17. Stamford were still not finished and proceeded to threw everything at Oakham to try to force another equalising score. 

 

From a scrum deep inside Oakham’s twenty-two Stamford worked the ball right and looked to have an overlap before a huge crash tackle by centre Charlie McKee stopped an almost certain try forcing Stamford to lose possession, 

 

Callum Crellin seized on the loose ball and kicked downfield with Will Armstrong and Vakalalabure in hot pursuit they harassed Stamford’s defenders into losing control of the bouncing ball. Armstrong then hacked the ball forward winning the race to touchdown close to the posts. The try then converted by Crellin stretched the Oakham lead to 12-24.

 

Stamford again tried desperately to get on terms in the closing stages but with a two-score advantage Oakham saw the game out to gain a vital bonus point win and the local bragging rights until the teams meet again at Oakham later in the season. 


Published: 29/09/2017





 
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