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Bishops Stortford Rugby Club (BSRFC)

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The Club was formed in 1920, playing it’s first matches at Dunmow Road before moving to the present location at Silver Leys in 1928. Presently the club has 8 senior teams including veterans and ladies, 11 junior teams & 7 teams for ages 6-12. The 1st XV compete in the National League 2 London & SE and are proud of the fact that even though they are the only team in the league that doesn’t pay any of it’s players they are competitive enough to challenge for promotion each year. Mainly the clubs’ players are from Bishop’s Stortford and surrounding area educated in the art of rugby at local schools and colleges. The club has international pedigree as former England and British Lions back row Ben Clarke started his rugby career at Bishop’s Stortford before moving onto represent his country on 40 occasions. For more information on BSRFC and to follow their progress please click here.

Match Report Sat 29th 2017 – Bishop’s Stortford First XV 28 Barnes 21

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Stortford picked up where they had left off last week winning the ball from the opening dropout and going through multiple phases of quick ball to allow Nick Hankin to run a great angle off his wing to take a short pass from Tom Coleman under the posts to canter over for an opening try. League points leader, Tom Banks had no problem in converting to take his side out to an early 7 point lead. Unfortunately, in touching down, the winger tweaked his hamstring and had to be replaced with only 5 minutes of the game gone. Barnes, who needed at least two points to give them a realistic chance of staying up at Level 4, were clearly highly motivated and they swept back onto the attack to force a penalty at a breakdown on the Stortford line, for which Will Roberts was yellow-carded. This delayed by only seconds the equalising score from the visitors, who went straight from the resultant penalty for centre, David Butler to crash over under the posts to give Tom O’Toole an easy conversion. There followed an extended period of stalemate, as Stortford’s battering ram of an attack was met by the brick wall that Barnes’ determined defence presented. It took a pushover try from a 5 metre scrum scored by evergreen, Mark McCraith after 32 minutes to break the deadlock and Banks’ conversion stretched the lead out to 7 points. Stortford came close again a couple of times and were unlucky, right on the break that replacement winger, Ryan Hutler just failed to regather his own clever grubber kick at the Barnes try-line, which would have extended the lead to better reflect the overall balance of play to that point.

The second half started very differently, with Barnes on the front foot, but it was Stortford who, nevertheless, registered the next score with a momentous try by skipper, Tom Coleman, playing his last game for the Club he started with in the Minis and completing 5 years of captaincy of the Firsts. The score was created by a great break in midfield by Steve Ball, who committed the defence so comprehensively that he gave his fly half a clear run to the line from 30 yards out. Banks’ conversion stretched the lead to 14 points.

The next 20 minutes, though belonged to a steely Barnes side, who took advantage of some uncharacteristically loose errors from Stortford to demonstrate that they too could pose a real attacking threat with a series of impressive thrusts from both backs and forwards, showing considerable skill and cohesion. This produced two converted tries after 63 and 68 minutes to Butler and Robbie Martey to level the scores, at which stage a number of Stortford players were starting to look pretty tired and the visitors were looking to be on top. This is when Stortford’s collective character and team spirit really came to the fore, though, as they launched once more onto the offensive. This was again met by some stern defence from Barnes and it took three or four minutes of pressure before a penalty was forced. A quick tap by Tom Banks almost took the forceful scrumhalf to the line, but it took a few more phases before a long pass found Jimmy Rea out on the wing with just enough room to dive in for a try right on the corner. Banks once again stepped up and drilled the tough conversion between the posts to restore a 7 point lead with some 5 minutes to go. Undaunted, Barnes were straight back onto the attack and the home side had to withstand another concerted attack on their line, as the clock ran down, and the final, decisive event of the game came with a tremendous turnover by Steve Ball on the point of full time.

Although not at their fluent best, Stortford showed great character in repelling a strong and determined Barnes side to finish as the winners they have become in this memorable season. For their part, the visitors would surely not have found themselves in their perilous league position, had they produced rugby of this quality earlier in the season and they can surely look forward to a winning season in 2017/8.

Match Report Feb 18th 2017 – Taunton 10 Bishop’s Stortford 39

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A dominant second half performance seals a notable win for Stortford over fourth-placed Taunton – our first at this venue in 4 attempts.

The game started at a cracking pace, with both sides looking to run the ball, but Stortford enjoying a slight edge in terms both of possession and territory. It was the home side, nevertheless that was first on the scoreboard, with a converted try after 5 minutes. This came after Will Roberts had unluckily knocked the ball on in process of touching down for what would have been a Stortford try, when the ball caught on the heel of a defender and was dislodged from his grasp over the line. The home side was awarded a free kick at the resultant scrum and, the visitors then contrived to first knock on the long kick and then compound the error, when a second player picked up the ball from an offside position. The penalty went to touch some 10 yards from the Stortford line and a well-organised maul from the lineout drove the ball over the line for a try. Gary Kingdom unerringly sent the conversion over for a 7 point lead.

Stortford once again went onto the front foot, but individual errors again frustrated their efforts to register their own score for a quarter of an hour, until a clever Tom Coleman chip kick in midfield was seized on by Nick Hankin, who had enough pace to round the fullback and touch down under the posts, giving Tom Banks an easy job to level the scores. Taunton now took the initiative, but solid Stortford tackling made them settle a couple of minutes later for a penalty goal – again to Kingdom. Still very error-prone, the visitors nevertheless just about enjoyed the better of subsequent exchanges, but stern defence from Taunton this time caused Stortford eventually to take 3 points through Banks, for a high tackle under the posts, as the first half was nearing its end. Ten all at the break, given Stortford’s high error count and Taunton’s own aggressive intent was probably a satisfactory scoreline for the visitors.

After the break, though the previously nip and tuck nature of the game was changed completely, with Stortford managing to cut down their error rate dramatically and, with changes having been made to both packs, enjoying a clear edge in the scrums – an area in which the Taunton side prides itself – they steadily took a strangle hold on the game. An early scrum penalty brought another three points for Banks from long range and his side were straight back onto the offensive from the restart.

Now showing great patience in going through the phases, Stortford extended their lead to 10 points after another 5 minutes, with Sam Winter fielding another perfectly-judged Coleman chip kick to dash over for a try under the posts. Now with almost no errors, the visitors took a firm grip of the game and slowly choked Taunton out of the contest. Even when the home side occasionally gained possession, Stortford forced turnover after turnover and this dominance was duly rewarded after 22 minutes with a second try to Hankin, rounding off a spell of powerful driving rugby by his pack,which had been met by equally strong home defence in their own 22.. This time, Banks’ conversion attempt went narrowly wide. No such mistake was made though 11 minutes later, when Hankin scored his hat-trick try, cutting a great line from the blindside wing to take a neat inside pass from Coleman to slice clean through the Taunton defence.

This took the scoreline to 10-32 and, crucially brought up the 4-try bonus point. A half of rugby, which had probably matched the best that Stortford have produced so far this season, was rounded off at the death, when replacement prop, Seb Brownhill crashed over for his side’s 5th try after another long series of phases of controlled attacking rugby. Banks’ 4th conversion brought up the 10-39 final scoreline and a 0-29 second half of remorseless 15-man rugby, during which only one penalty – awarded at a scrum – had been conceded.

Next week we return home for the re arranged match v Canterbury, our game in had,to potentially put us 5 points clear at the top. As usual your support would be very much appreciated on the day to drive the boys on.

19th March 2014

You will recall the great excitement when the 1st XV gained promotion to the National League 2 South. Playing this season at level 4, the highest the Club has ever achieved, presented any number of challenges both on and off the field.

Here we are, after 23 games in 5th position in the league. Testament to the type of rugby played and despite the pitch conditions since Christmas. With just a bit more Luck we could even be in 2nd or 3rd spot. With games in hand over some clubs the 1st XV have ambitions to finish higher still.

Bishops Stortford Blues (2nd XV) are top of their league for the second season in succession have won through the final of the Herts President’s Cup after beating Old Albanians in the semi final. They now meet Letchworth or Tring on the 27th of April at St Albans RFC in the final.

The 3rd XV currently occupy 2nd place in their league immmediatly behind Tring 2nd XV. The 4th’s are also in second place having to contest against some Clubs 1st and 2nd XV’s.

Bishops’s Stortford successful Colts over the past several seasons have mostly moved on to play senior or university rugby. As Testament to the Mini and Youth policy at the Club the current colts XV are through to the Quarter finals of the LV Cup and are currently in the semi finals of the County Cup.

• 1st Xv – Champions of National 3 London & SE promoted to level 4 for first time in our history. The highest position within our game that we have ever achieved

• Blues or 2nd Xv Hertfordshire County ‘ Presidents’ Cup Winners having beaten Letchworth 1st XVv in the final.

• Colts- National Colts Cup Winners having beaten Worcester RFC in the final

• 3rd XV – Herts / Middlesex Merit league (HML) 2 winners and Cup runners up

• Organisers of successful HML Finals day 2013

• Youth – County Cup winners at U14 & U16

• County Cup runners up at U13 & U17

• County Plate winners at U13, U14 & U15

• League winners at U14 A & B and U16B

• U15 Girls winners of HM league.

• Organisers of successful  18 team  two-day U13 Festival

• Minis – U9’s winners of Saracens tournament. U11 winners of Chelmsford festival and U12 winners of Shield competition in BSRFC U13 festival plusU9 Tornadoes and Hurricanes were joint plate winners at our October festival -U9 Tornadoes plate winners at the Chelmsford festival –

U10 Cup Finalists/Runners up in the Chelmsford Festival – U8 Plate winners at the Chelmsford festival – U12 Plate winners at Chelmsford festival

• Organisers of two hugely successful  Mini festivals. One in October for A/B teams and another in April for all ‘development’ teams.

• Whole Club- organisers of Biggest Fireworks festival in the town attracting in excess of 5000 spectators.

• Organisers of final 1st XV league game that attracted in excess of 1200 spectators to Silver Leys and saw us serve in excess of 4000 pints of beer

• Recipients of grant of £10k from the RFU to purchase a new tractor for upkeep of grounds and of course we ran a very successful Ladies day

• Sat 3rd November – Stortford RFC get back to winning ways with derby triumph, Tring 27, Stortford 48. Stortford secured their first win in three matches against a committed Tring side to keep the Silver Leys men in touch with the top two teams.

• New Head Coach for BSRFC appointed! Steve Pope will take up his appointment from 1st June 2012. Steve joined Blackheath in 1995, before continuing his professional career with London Welsh and Swansea. He returned to Blackheath in 2005 not only as a player, but also as Director of Youth and Youth Player Development, before becoming Director of Rugby.

• Congratulations go out to BSRFC 1st XV for their 16th Straight Win in the League against Gravesend on Sat 10th March 2012. This is a new Club Record!

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