Players Who Shook the Crumbie: #9: Tim Stimpson

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Players Who Shook the Crumbie: #9: Tim Stimpson

Post by Iain » Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:02 am

If it were to be based purely on levels of achievement then Stimmo would simply have to be up there in the upper levels of all time Tigers legends. Having achieved a champions medal with Newcastle in 1998, Stimmo made the move over to Welford Road and went on to clinch the title in his first season with a flawless kicking display in what proved to be a kicking battle with Jonny Wilkinson at a wind swept Kingston Park against his former employers. Stimmo became a fixture in the side for the next five years, and in that time shattered all manner of point scoring records and helped himself to a total of four premiership titles in a row (on top of his one the previous season for Newcastle - no other player has managed five in a row), one Zurich Championship and two memorable Heineken Cups.
Four games stick in the mind as Stimmo's crowning glories. Firstly, the championship winning game at Kingston Park in the first of our four in a row titles. Secondly the 2001 final at Parc de Princes where his kicking kept us in the game in the face of an inspired display by Diego Dominguez, until Leon scored in the corner and Stimpson stepped up to knock over a tough conversion with minimal fuss to leave Stade Francais needing a try to win.
Thirdly was the Heineken Cup semi against Llanelli at the City Ground in 2002. With a few minutes left Martyn Madden collapses the scrum on the Leicester ten metre line and is pinged. Martin Johnson starts discussing with Ben Kay what line out call to make after kicking for touch..... and then stops in disbelief along with the rest of us as Stimmo picks up the ball, points it in the direction of the posts and calls for the tee. Time just seemed to stand still as he gave the ball an almighty thump in the howling gale..... it seemed to have the direction.... and to a person we all gasped and stopped breathing as the ball landed on the crossbar, bounced up and hit the post and dropped seemingly in slow motion over the bar. The winning kick....and what a winning kick!
His fourth crowning moment was in the subsequent final against Munster in a man of the match display that proved he was more than a kicking machine. Although he had an off day with the boot, he superbly created Geordan Murphy's opening try and played an excellent full back's role on our way to victory.
The following season Tim started to lose some form and appeared to lose confidence with his kicking. He eventually signed for Perpignan in the summer, where the problem with his kicking was identified as a benign tumour in his knee. He never quite got his fitness back after this and faded away after a brief spell at Leeds.
Desperately unlucky not to have got more England caps. His achievements mean he will always be looked back on fondly.

PS It has so far been a pleasure running this topic, and there is now interest from someone who would like to produce a booklet when the series is done. If anyone would like players pre-1994 (the point at which my memory stretches back to) I would appreciate you PMing me with a write up for any player you feel is worthy.

At the end of this feature unohoo has volunteered to make it into a book and sell it in aid of the Matt Hampson trust fund, which is a tremendous thought. Any contributors will of course be credited in the booklet!
Last edited by Iain on Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Ben the Tiger » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:30 pm

All i really remember is that amazing kick v scarlets :D :D that got us in to the final and how the next season his performances started to dip a bit then left. :(

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Post by Tigersfan90 » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:32 pm

... And what a kick that was by stimmo, Amazing will never be forgotten! :D
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Post by Dave W » Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:04 pm

I know when I got in to tigers and rugby a few years back now, it was really exciting watching Stimmo and his fantastic partnerships with Lloydy and Geordan - they used to scare the living hell out of any team - they, and especially he, were a pleasure to watch...
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Post by mightymouse » Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:35 pm

Stimmos most valuable kick was probably his touch line conversion in Paris of leons try - that forced stade to try and cross the line in the dying minutes

The infurating thing about Stimmos kicking is the same as Goode - He would hit absolute belters and the miss a sitter - or usually the miss the sitter first!

Only about a 69% kicking stat - scored a lot of points behind a phenomenal pack

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Post by Phil anj » Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:55 pm

i was there when stimmo slotted that kick in the final o it was wonderful seeing the ball pass through the uprights the glory days
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Post by sk 88 » Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:40 pm

Stimmo is exactly the kind of full back both Leicester and England need at the moment, big, strong under the high ball and an excellent kicker. Don't forget he was the second highest points scorer on the 1997 Lions tour as well.

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Post by Gate » Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:44 pm

You can't argue with the sheer number of points scored, although as MM says, behind that pack you were always going to get lots of kicking opportunities. But for all that, I remember him for the same two kicks others have mentioned - on the money when it mattered.

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Post by Tiger4Life » Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:54 pm

One of my favourite memories of Stimpo was against the All Saints in 2001 (? - I remember it being Tim Rodber's last game) in the play-off system of that season.

Stimpo collected a kick into the corner and was eagerly chased by Alan Tait (I think) who wasn't exactly a shy and retiring type for a centre/wing. As the crowd anticipated him getting boshed by Tait, Stimpo simply dipped his shoulder and left Tait looking pretty stupid on his :censored: and then proceeded to storm on the counter attack.

Stimpson's size and physicality was one element of his game which is often overlooked. Also, while his kicking % may not be great, he first started as a kicking understudy to Stansky. For some time his kicking wasn't great but he clearly worked on it until he was a very reliable kicker and as some people have already noted, put some magnificent strikes over and scored crucial points for Tigers when they needed them! (Geordan; take note)!

Cruelly overlooked by England while Woodward persisted with the less than brilliant Matt Perry.

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Post by PMTiger » Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:06 pm

As far as I can recollect Tim has received the biggest ovation of any player at Welford Road when he left the club. The applause continued for most of the half time break, it may only be bettered when Deano returns with the Quins.
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Post by DCat » Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:41 pm

Will echo everything that has been said previously, but will also add that he was a really nice guy!
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Post by tigersimon » Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:33 am

Echo all the great rugby moments above.

On the nice guy front - it was at the Haymarket Theate one night when my disabled mother was trying to get to the bar to buy a drink - Tim went and got the drink and bought it as well. He has always been my mum's favourite player ever since.

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Post by cape » Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:08 am

Stimmo was a real tigers legend and i sorely missed him when he left, tht was a sad day for me he will always be my favourite rugby player ever, for his quality and personality,
at the moment he is playing for the nuneaton nuns wher i love watching him, he loves seeing tigers fans there and i usually try and see him,

a legend in his own right

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Post by dailywaffle » Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:28 pm

Stimmo walks into my all-time Tigers XV at FB. England's loss was very much our gain, and I always felt that his attacking play (such a physical runner) and awareness were much underated.

In addition to the pressure kicks already mentioned, didn't he knock one over at Perpignan from the half-way line to help us win our HEC pool one year ? (31-30, if I remember right, yet another last minute job).

Such a shame that his career tailed off, but always carried himself with pride and dignity. A top bloke.

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Post by westy154 » Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:42 pm

That conversion against Stade Francais...


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