TWELVE TRY THRILLER GIVES HOME VICTORY BUT STOUR SECURE BONUS POINT WITH FIVE TRIES OF THEIR OWN
By Richard Stanley
Saturday’s away fixture at Priory Park was never going to be an easy game...but with five of their key players moving on, a warm day and plenty of “Blue” sky, home advantage proved a key ingredient in this 12 try thriller that included a 20 points t
Saturday’s away fixture at Priory Park was never going to be an easy game and matters were not helped when the 74 mile journey took nearly 3 hours courtesy of an M6 collision between a National Express coach and an Audi! This was “The Blues” last home fixture of the season. Combined with five of their key players moving on, a warm day and plenty of “Blue” sky, home advantage proved a key ingredient in this 12 try thriller that included a 20 points tally for Lewis Barker.
However, it was the visitors who made the first impact on the game. Straight from the kick off, Josh Trinham’s chase and aerial tap back rattled the home defence who knocked on. Stour won a scrum penalty and they were unfortunate not to secure three points as the left side post defeated Robbie Forbes kick. Notwithstanding, it was just 3 minutes later before Macc conceded another penalty, this time for a high tackle. The ensuing lineout and catch/drive put them on the front foot. When the ball went to ground, Rod Petty gathered the ball and his pop pass found Hal Riley whose well-cut running line was unstoppable from short range. This time, Robbie Forbes made no mistake in the kick, which was actually tougher than his first.
Straight from the kick off, Full Back Joe Heatley ran the ball back a full 40 metres, linking well with Josh Trinham. At the breakdown, Macc won scrum ball but Josh Trinham who returned the pass favour to Joe Heatley fielded their clearance kick. His chip ahead was gathered and the final pass went to Stef Thorp who cantered in, untouched giving Robbie Forbes a simple conversion and making the score 0 – 14 with just 9 minutes on the clock.
This seemed to galvanise the home team who capitalised on a Stour offside by a deep kick to the left corner. From the lineout, the ball was recycled and sent out right where Dan Lomax was on hand to score from his No 15 position. This was to be the first try in his hat trick and Lewis Barker’s first kick out of a tally of seven successes. His fellow centre Sam Broster was next on the score sheet. This resulted from another Stour error when they lost their own lineout ball and then gave away another high tackle penalty. Once again, the pressure applied to Stour’s line was too great and a number of “pick and go” moves gave Broster the chance to dash over from short range.
Three minutes later, Macclesfield took the lead via Dan Lomax’s second try. Stour looked aghast and almost stopped play when they suspected a forward pass that was called by most people other than the referee and AR! This gave Lomax the space and time needed to break clear and score close to the woodwork for barker to convert and make the score 19 – 14.
The hosts’ bonus point try came five minutes later and just before the half hour mark. Live wire scrum half Nick Allsop (who was causing all sorts of problems in his quick fire attacking) was the man to add five more points. One of his moves was a tap penalty that gave Rod Petty a Yellow Card. No longer the quickest man on the pitch, Rod was penalised for not being 10 metres. Ironically, this followed an attack by Stour when industrious lock Nicholas Murphy broke away but made a double move in the tackle. This was the first tap penalty quickly followed by the Yellow Card incident. Down to 14 men, Allsop capitalised on the momentum and Barker’s kick went over with some help from the right side post!
Half an hour gone and The Blues were in a comfortable lead at 26 – 14 but Stour were to finish the half in a flourish when Joe Heatley scored out wide left and Forbes hit perhaps the most difficult conversion of the afternoon. It followed an attack by the visitors, eventually winning a lineout in the left corner. However, the ball was lost to Macc but the clearance kick was poor and Niall Gibbons’ attempted catch was juggled into the arms of Joe Heatley who scampered over from 20 metres out in front of a bemused line of defence.
The following five minutes saw Stour battling out of their 22m territories reaching 40 metres out but losing ball to a knock on. This gave the hosts an opportunity to counter but eventually conceding a penalty for holding on in the tackle. Too late and too far out, Stour tapped and kicked the ball dead thus setting the scene for an interesting second half at 26 – 21!
Macc came out with all guns blazing and their expansive game with quick offloads started to sap the Stour defence. It took just 3 minutes for Barker to score his second try. This followed two Stour offences for high tackles and advantage was still being played when Barker crashed over for a self converted score.
The game was all but over on 50 minutes when Lomax hit his third try, again as a result of a Stour infringement for being off their feet in a ruck. Barker’s conversion meant 40 – 21 but Stourbridge were not going to lie down! They won a penalty five minutes later. Losing the lineout, however, they regained the ball following a poor clearance by the Macc captain and No 8 Ryan Parkinson. Joe Heatley gathered the ball and, in tandem with Robbie Forbes broke back inside the home half, finding Hal Riley on the inside break. At the breakdown ruck the ball was given to cousin George Morgan who had a few metres to make before touching down. Robbie Forbes converted and some consolation was to come from this Bonus Point Try!
Ten minutes later, Barker kicked a simple penalty to stretch the lead to 43 – 28 and this was followed by a Miles Hall try. Stour were down to 14 men when Joe Heatley was binned for a high/no arms tackle and he was to play no further part in the game. The resulting penalty and territorial gain was enough to create space for Hall’s try and Barker’s last kick of the afternoon was a beauty from out left.
Rod Petty sent the restart straight into touch and the half way line scrum gave Macc a penalty as the referee adjudged Stour to have wheeled. However, the visitors regained the ball and the penalty was immediately reversed, this time for Macc wheeling! Quick thinking by Rod Petty gained territory and a second infringement got Stour to the home side’s 5 m line. The throw in found Nicholas Murphy who was able to pirouette out of the tackle and touch down in the right corner. The final whistle blew after an unsuccessful conversion attempt much to the relief of an exhausted set of players and enthusiastic, vocal crowd.
FINAL SCORE 50 – 33.
Two Yellow Cards meant that Stour played for an hour with just 14 men. They did not help their cause with numerous other penalties and miscalculations being their downfall against a home side, determined to play expansive running rugby.
Josh Trinham, who started the game so well, only managed 19 minutes before sustaining a nasty head injury that saw him leave the field of play. Dad, Andy Trinham was on hand and thanks must go to the Macclesfield Doctor who drove father and son to the local hospital, ensuring the player was seen quickly.
Latest news is that Trinham spent a comfortable night tucked up in bed but with restless periods, talking to himself and making no sense to those around him, often dribbling between the utterances of profanities. Fortunately, Josh was on hand to ensure that his Dad did not choke on his own sick or sleepwalk to the nearest pub!
Next week sees our final game, at home and we look forward to seeing as many supporters as possible for what promises to be an entertaining fixture.