S&L have a plan for survival

Action from Rushden & Higham's win over St Ives in Midlands Three East (South)
Action from Rushden & Higham's win over St Ives in Midlands Three East (South)

Stewarts & Lloyds’ coaches have put together the plan that will keep their team in Midlands Two East (South).

Last week’s 27-17 reverse at Oakham was S&L’s third straight defeat and leaves the Corby side four points from safety with five games to go.

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203933009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203933009

There’s a crucial trip to relegation rivals Peterborough a week on Saturday and this week, Olney are the visitors to Occupation Road.

Coach Kev Manson says his side have to win on Saturday and the game plan is in place.

He said: “The coaches had had a meeting this week to plan for the last five games.

“We’re looking at each game individually and looked at all the other teams’ strengths and weaknesses.

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203902009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203902009

“When we played Olney earlier this season (a 28-8 defeat), they got a good foundation from their pack and had a good number 10.

“We are looking to starve their forwards of ball and get the ball out wide.

“We really need to win this Saturday.

“We did target last week’s game at Oakham, but it didn’t work out for us.

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203851009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203851009

“A big, big decision went against us – there was a try against us that we didn’t think should have been allowed – then frustration set in.

“We don’t want to harp on about referee’s decisions, but it does seem that things haven’t been going our way.”

For Manson, the loss at Oakham summed up his side’s season.

“We are trying to remain positive,” he said.

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203820009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203820009

“But it’s been one of those seasons when we haven’t been able to get the right personnel on the pitch at the right time.

“It seems that every week we lose a key player and that’s very frustrating.

“We have to keep bringing players in and changing things around.”

Chris Jones, the full-back/centre, is the latest player to be ruled out for the rest of the season after being forced to quit rugby through work commitments.

Manson added: “We haven’t been getting the luck with injuries and refereeing decisions we maybe got last season.

“But in the last five games, we are looking to play to our strengths and expose our opponents’ weaknesses and if we can do that, we have a chance.”

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015

In the same section, Wellingborough’s hopes of winning the title disappeared last weekend as they went down 22-13 at Lutterworth.

Leaders Old Scouts made light work of Dunstablians and now sit 11 points clear at the top.

Peterborough beckon for Boro – who sit level on points with Biggleswade in second place – this Saturday.

Rushden & Higham got back to winning ways with a 30-13 success over St Ives.

Having been beaten by promotion rivals Rugby St Andrews and Vipers in their last two games it was imperative to pick up points.

And, watched by a good crowd at their Past Players’ Lunch, they had a bonus point by half-time.

Gary Flook, Stuart Riding, Jordan Kirk and Harvey Hilson all scored tries before the break with Duncan Green and Kirk again adding to the tally in the second half.

‘The Den’ remain top but are level on points with Vipers – both sides having five games remaining.

In the same division, Oundle’s feint hopes of securing back-to-back promotions were effectively ended at the hands of Long Buckby.

Their county rivals edged it 26-25 with a dramatic late score as Oundle tried to hold out.

Joe Rice and Khrys Speed both scored tries as did Toby Snelling to go with eight points from the boot.

It took a while but Kettering finally overcame a stubborn Belgrave side to win 55-12.

The visitors actually scored first before the Blues responded. However, it was still only 15-5 at the break.

But eventually pressure told and Kettering ran in eight tries.

Shane Ling’s double were his first scores in the senior side while Damien Conyard matched his haul.

Andy Byrne bagged a brace as well – among his 25 points – and Chris Chapman and Jordan Butlin finished it off.

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203944009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203944009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203704009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203704009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203642009

Rugby Action: Rushden: Rushden and Higham RFC v St Ives RFC ''Saturday 21st February 2015 NNL-150221-203642009