Great 2nd half performance is not enough to overcome a strong home side
By Richard Stanley
This week’s game seemed to follow the Third Law of Motion formulated by the one and only Sir Isaac Newton! (Our last week’s first half win compared with this week and a 19-point concession to our hosts)!
This week’s game seemed to follow the Third Law of Motion formulated by the one and only Sir Isaac Newton! (Our last week’s first half win compared with this week and a 19-point concession to our hosts)! Furthermore, after a cracking cliché in The Rugby Paper, last week, we are struggling to understand this week’s strap line of “Home sweet home as Stour are felled”!
Neither teams included anybody called ‘Fell, Tree, Alabama, Lynyrd or Skynyrd’. Chester did have a Green and Croft in their side but the only “Sweet Home” credit could be a reference to this being their 4th successive home victory. Chester must be favourites to climb up the league ladder given one away game against South Leicester next week followed by three on the bounce at Hare Lane versus Tynedale, Wharfedale and Fylde.
No excuses but Stour had lost two key players in the form of Hal Riley and Chad Thorne. Chris Scott and George Morgan were returning from illness and injury whilst the loss of Rickie Aley, Sam Montieri and Jack Lea did not help our cause during the match.
Chester kicked off with wind advantage and, in spite of some spirited play by the visitors managed to get the first score through left wing Ross Craig, after just 4 minutes. This followed a Stour lineout ball lost to Chester and speed through the hands out wide. Lively Scrum half, Morris was next on the board after 12 minutes when Stour were penalised for ‘not releasing’ and marksman James Robins made no mistake with the conversion.
Stour were unlucky not to break the deadlock when Reece Beddows was hauled down just 10 m short after a 70 m break. This was followed by another Stourbridge knock on error with the whitewash beckoning followed by a Chester penalty when a Stour ruck player was caught ‘holding on’. 25 minutes into the game, Rickie Aley did manage a penalty kick to drag it back to 12-3 but had to leave the field a few minutes later with a shoulder injury!
However, the hosts reinforced their dominance on 30 minutes when Stourbridge were penalised for a high tackle. Quick tap penalty ball was sent to No 12 James Robins for a simple 5 points that he converted for a 19-3 lead. Again, Stour did have their chances over the remaining playtime but even with an extra 2 minutes, were unable to capitalise on territory and possession!
Dressing room talk at half time obviously worked as Stour kicked off the second half with a renewed vigour and passion that saw some scintillating moves involving all seven backs, started by Joe Heatley and Mark Harrison. This move was eventually ‘held up’ over the line but with just 8 minutes of the 2nd half played, the visitors opted for a scrum penalty in front of the posts. Loose play from the back of the scrum set up replacement Hooker Sam Wilkes to burst over for Stour’s first Try giving Chris Scott a simple conversion for 19-10.
Less than 5 minutes later Reece Beddows scored an absolute corker following another Mark Harrison Joe Heatley combo. The ball was sent out right to Reece Beddows who, still with players to beat, stepped outside and scorched the artificial pitch for some 30 metres and a well worked try making it 19-15.
James Robins knocked over a simple penalty 5 minutes later after a Stour player was found to be offside but the game was ignited shortly after. In Rundlesque style the left wingman received a pass and took off like Road Runner escaping his Nemesis Wile E. Coyote. Pre tackle, he chipped ahead, running past several defenders and somehow managed to gather an awkward bounce ahead of Chester’s last defensive line. TRY TIME and a 16 point deficit had now been neutralized into a 22-22 game when Chris Scott converted and there was all to play for.
Stour’s hopes took a knock when Chester unleashed the ever-dangerous back row and a break by No 8 took play over the half way line. Several offloads later and following great support work, replacement wing Matt Van Sertima was at the end of a 70 metre move that defined the final score at 27-22.
A desperate final few minutes were not enough for Stour to overcome the deficit but at least we won the second half!
Next week Stourbridge entertain Fylde hoping that there is no damage to the AGP following our annual Bonfire bash on 2nd November. Our visitors are in 9th place on 24 points and 4 wins, having beaten Otley, Macclesfield and Lions – both Leicester and Peterborough! Their last 2 games have been lost to Hull and Hinckley!