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National League 1: Bishop's Stortford make five changes from starting XV at Chinnor for visit of Cambridge



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Bishop's Stortford have made five changes to the side that started last week's vital victory at Chinnor for Saturday's M11 derby clash with Cambridge at Silver Leys.

Among the backs, centre and captain Jack Scantlebury and scrum half Tom Banks are missing from the matchday squad while full back Tom Walker drops to the bench.

Dan Powell moves inside to centre as Alex Gilham replaces him on the wing, Dan Smart starts at 9 and Mike Ayrton is in at 15. Fly half George Cullen takes the skipper's armband.

There are two changes among the forwards, with Alex Rayment and Harrison King trading places at hooker and Jacob Wrafter returning in place of Dec Caulfield.

Joint head coach Tom Coleman wants Stortford to give their supporters an early Christmas present by beating their visitors.

He saw his side register an important 23-19 win at Chinnor at the weekend as they climbed three places to 11th in National League 1.

Cambridge are sixth in the standings and come into the derby on the back of a 34-29 home success over Rosslyn Park, only the leaders' second defeat of the season.

"It's a derby game and they're a quality side with quality throughout their side," said Coleman. "It's a massive challenge for us again.

"Our focus is on what we can do and the controllables. We want to train well this week and go out there and get our performance right.

"We're looking to win back-to-back games which is something we've not done yet this season. For a team with aspirations to be higher up the table, that's not good enough.

"Hopefully we'll have a fantastic crowd behind us and the boys can put on a performance for them."

Stortford's victory at Chinnor – their fourth of the campaign – also came with a bonus point thanks to four unconverted tries from Ollie Betteridge, Powell, King and Joss Linney.

And the win was also achieved despite some enforced late changes to the starting line-up, including James Thacker and Caulfield coming in for Tom Lewis and Wrafter.

"It was a very pleasing victory and the boys' attitude was spot on," said Coleman, whose side had lost seven of their previous eight games.

"They obviously wanted to get out there and prove some people wrong. They've responded in exactly the way we would have hoped.

"It felt like it was our destiny to win the game – sitting on the coach and needing to make those changes, it felt like it was building up for us to get the victory.

"Chinnor are no mugs in the forwards and so it was pleasing to see the boys come together and dominate from start to finish."

Bishop's Stortford line-up v Cambridge

15 Michael Ayrton, 14 Alex Gilham, 13 Dan Powell, 12 Ollie Betteridge, 11 Chris Smith, 10 George Cullen (c), 9 Dan Smart; 1 Will Roberts, 2 Alex Rayment, 3 Tom McCrone, 4 Harry Charter, 5 James Thacker, 6 James Apperley, 7 Jacob Wrafter, 8 Rory Banks. Replacements: 16 Harrison King, 17 Seb Brownhill, 18 Jake Bridges, 19 Tom Walker, 20 Joss Linney



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