Win number two moves Stour up the league table to 8th place
By Richard Stanley
Stour even up the fixtures in this nine try thriller that saw the home side down to 14 men and ‘Dale scoring all of their 24 points in the second half.
Those of you who read the match preview will know that recent encounters have been high scoring affairs and that Tynedale had manage to notch up 9 tries against some tough opposition!
Conditions were ideal for another high scoring encounter with a stiff breeze favouring the away side in the first half but was a 12-point advantage going to be enough to tame a physical and hard running side like Tynedale? With a Friday night floodlit game satisfying an element of the locals thirst for rugby, spectator numbers were down and the game was preceded by a minute’s silence for club stalwarts Dave Platt and Roy Howell.
It took 12 minutes for Stour to get on the scoreboard following some good play where, in spite of some early errors, they managed to dominate the scrum set pieces. The only moment of concern was when a Joe Heatley clearance kick was charged down but he reacted quickly to regather and clear the danger. A scrum penalty led to a 22 m lineout and Hal Riley taking an excellent crash ball to break the line. Two Stour penalties later and the ball was fed out to Joe Heatley who dived over for his first try but Rickie Aley was unable to add the extras.
Tynedale then managed to assert themselves through a searing break by left wing Guy Pike who was hauled down short of the line but gaining a penalty advantage. However, their lineout maul was held up over the whitewash. Subsequent play was also thwarted but a Joe Heatley clearance kick to half way was called back because the ball had been taken back from outside the 22 m line.
Another Heatley break gained yards and a penalty opportunity for Rickie Aley but the ball was wide and Stourbridge had to wait until the 38th minute for their next chance to stretch the lead. It all started with another trademark chip by Rickie Aley sending the ball high to the right in the direction of Mark Harrison. Mark leapt and tapped the ball to the waiting George Morgan. Instead of moving towards the posts, Morgan’s clever pass to the outside found the ever present Joe Heatley who flat-footed the defence and strolled over for his brace and for Aley to convert.
The first half ended after ‘Dale knocked on from kick off possession, Stour winning another scrum penalty and any danger cleared to touch.
Finding themselves 12-0 down at the break, was enough to galvanise the visitors into some second half action and it took just 3 minutes for the explosive running of No 8 Joe Mills. Skipper Llyr Griffiths had taken a brilliant catch from the Tynedale kick off. However, the resulting Stour counter attack was penalised and a second penalty gave the visitors a lineout just 6 metres from the try line. Clean ball was sent to Mills but his try was too far out for No 10, Rob Parker, to convert.
However, ‘Dale only had to wait 6 minutes for their second try scored by Morgan Passman who is on loan from Newcastle Falcons. This followed a Stour fumble at the back of a scrum within their own ‘22’. Tynedale sent the ball left and an industrious Passman latched on to the pass but, again, too far out for the conversion attempt.
The next score came from an error, this time by ‘Dale. They were in a strong attacking position but also fumbled a knock on which fell into the hands of Joe Heatley. He made some 10 metres and was tackled just as he slipped a clever pass to wingman Mark Harrison. His blistering pace saw a 35-metre dash to out sprint the defence and the score moved on to 17-10.
It was the hard working Niall Gibbons who was rewarded next as Stour were given a penalty when a Tynedale player kicked the ball out of a ruck. The kick was sent to the 5 m line and the catch and drive was set up. Aided by Nick Murphy and others, Niall Gibbons was driven over the line and close enough for Rickie Aley to convert making the score 24-10 and giving Stour their Bonus Point.
Niall Gibbons was also involved in the next try when he took the kick off ball sending it out left finding replacement left wing Dan Rundle. For the first time in nearly 3 hours of rugby, Dan found ball in hand and a bit of space. Pinning back his ears, his pace was too much for the Tynedale defence and he sprinted a full 50 metres to score in the left corner for a 29-10 lead.
This would be enough for many teams to simply roll over and accept defeat. Not so Tynedale. Helped by a now ‘relaxed’ home side, Stour complacency and a Penalty Try opened the door with an immediate 7 pointer and a “Technical Foul” Yellow Card allotted to an unlucky Nick Murphy. The Tynedale lineout was pulled down once and referee Joe James signalled an advantage. However, a second pull down gave him no choice but to head straight for the posts, arm aloft!
‘Dale then started to take advantage of the one-man advantage but were thwarted by a knock on, loose ball and a sublime steal by Rob Connolly diving on to a loose lineout ball. The pressure finally paid off on the 77 minute mark when danger man Passman went over for his second try which was converted by Rob Parker and it was ‘game on’ with two minutes left on the clock!
With Nick Murphy back on to the field of play and Rickie Aley setting up for a drop goal, Stour were looking strong but Tynedale’s fighting spirit was not yet exhausted. Had it not been for a knock on from scrum advantage they may have come away with a different result. Stourbridge secured a final scrum of their own and the final score of 29-24 was perhaps a fair reflection of this competitive fixture!
Next week, Stourbridge head east into unknown territory when we visit newly promoted Peterborough Lions, for the first time. Wharfedale, Hinckley and Hull Ionians have all defeated them with a 17 try to 7 deficit. Formerly Westwood RUFC, based in Bretton near Peterborough, the club runs one senior team, a youth academy team, an under-16s side and four junior teams. Their first XV gained promotion from Midlands Premier via the play off system.
We look forward to making new friends in this cathedral city where the ever present Jeremy Riley and batman, Robin will have a slightly easier journey than the 3+ hour trek to Stourton Park.