Buxton Stags have beaten Bedford Queens to win the RFU Junior Vase Midlands final.
Stags withstood late pressure to secure their success 17-10 after a valiant effort from all in the jubilant squad.
The first score of the afternoon went to Buxton, full-back Greg Mellor breaking free into a bit of space to sprint in from near the halfway line for an early 5-0 lead to the Stags.
The next score also went to the Stags as pressing Bedford’s line, they found a midfield dog leg and some poor tackling let Ben Austin break away and touch down for a 10-0, Ryan Sircar then missing a sitter in front of the posts to extend the lead after 20 minutes.
After a sustained period of pressure in Buxton’s own 22 a yellow card was issued to Stags’ Conor McHale due to team infringements.
Queens kicked to touch and executed a driving maul for a touchdown - the referee initially felt it was held up but upon consultation with his touch judge gave the try to leave the half-time score 10-5 to Buxton.
The away side were now keeping it tight and slowly moving up into Buxton’s 22. After a number of pick and drives, Darren Stapleton put prop John Fisk through a gap to barge over to make it 10-10 and Bedford were right back in the game.
Buxton were still trying to play with some width despite the worsening weather conditions and were turning a few balls over, allowing the heavier Bedford pack to retain possession, working their way gradually up the pitch.
Stags got the next score as captain Kieran Wain made a powerful burst through the middle which wasn’t helped by some indecision by Queens’ midfield defence. This set up a ruck in Bedford’s 22 and powerful prop Simeon Meek got on the end of a set of quick passes and bludgeoned his way over to score in the corner.
Sircar added the extra two points as he dispatched a fine kick from the touchline in strong winds to make the score 17-10, making up for his previous missed sitter.
Going into the last 15 minutes it was Bedford who managed to keep the majority of possession and territory. At this stage the powerful Dan Over was on at eight and made yards every time he got his hands on the ball.
A tap and go penalty in the dying minutes by Del Starling put Queens on the front foot as they pushed to level the scores, but this resulted in the a succession of scrums and Stags held out for the win.