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Stourbridge 1st XV - Match centre

Sat 17 Nov 15:00 - RFU National - National 2 North Full time

Scant reward for set piece and territorial advantage but Stour come away with Bonus Point


Stourbridge made the three-hour trip to an industrially picturesque Lockwood Park knowing this was going to be a tough fixture against a 3rd place host who narrowly lost 2 weeks ago to table topping Hull Ionians.

Stourbridge made the three-hour trip to an industrially picturesque Lockwood Park knowing this was going to be a tough fixture against a 3rd place host who narrowly lost 2 weeks ago to table topping Hull Ionians.

The visitors were without key men in the form of Sam Montieri and Jack Lea but Jack did make the journey sporting a nifty pair of his girlfriend’s joggers and gym shoes. The latter seemed to offer comfort and ease to his big toe that had recently been separated from its nail. It also seemed to help in his impersonation of Ridley Scott with associated skills apparent in the match DVD. All we need to worry about now is sound, focus and zoom.

For the few hardy supporters who made the trek, reward was given in the first sightings of two young players on Dual Registration from Worcester and Wasps. Callum Morris started at No 9 whilst James Seabrook benched but made an appearance in the last quarter. Both made an impact on the game but it was a shame we were unable to reward them with a win!

Stour at Huddersfield 17.11.18
6 photos

This was our 5th visit to the former brewery site and the new grounds man looks like he has made an impression as the pitch was in great condition with only some surface moisture to worry about. As the sun sunk behind the viaduct the temperature dropped but dry and calm conditions meant near perfect conditions for an exciting game.

The hosts kicked off but soon conceded a penalty when Nigel Mukarati latched on to a hapless Huddersfield player who was penalised for ‘holding on’. Unfortunately, set piece ball was lost through an isolated attack and Huddersfield won a reciprocal penalty thus easing pressure. This seemed to set a pattern that saw Stour go through phases of perfection followed by profligate performances that eventually proved to be the difference between these two teams.

Young Callum Morris made a lovely break from the base of a scrum followed by a 60 m scything run made by the enigmatic Joe Heatley. On both occasions “The Laikers” were able to clear their own half and their patience was rewarded after 17 minutes of play. A clever chip turned the Stour defence on to the back foot and lively Full Back Tom Hodson latched on to a loose ball scoring out right but only just managing to dot down before it crossed the dead ball line.

Stour were soon back in the action but a penalty lineout on their opponents’ 22 m line was not straight and it was back to square one. Soon after, a Chris Johnson speculative kick ended in the hands of an isolated Joe Heatley who was penalised for ‘holding on’ and Johnson stroked over the penalty on the 25-minute mark. The remainder of the half remained scoreless but did see George Morgan leave the pitch with a nasty groin injury and a 35 metre Stour penalty go wide of the sticks.

Given the number of opportunities, territorial advantage and quantum of possession Stourbridge must have rued the errors, mistakes and missed chances presented to them in the first half. The hosts must have thought that Christmas had come early!

The second half soon ignited when referee Ben Davis showed a Card to the hapless Chad Thorne. Unlike last season when Davis mistakenly gave Chad a Red Card, this one was Yellow following an off the ball incident. Huddersfield stole ball from the back of a Stour ruck inside the hosts’ 22 m line. Unlike the Stourbridge forwards, scrum half and nearby supporters, Davis thought the ball had come out and allowed play to continue.

Both sides then had opportunities but it was Huddersfield who took advantage of the Sin Bin numeric when, on 52 minutes they broke out of their own half and industrious Flanker Lewis Bradley crossed for the second Try of the game and a simple conversion by Johnson stretched the lead to 15-0.

(Note to readers. According to The Rugby Paper, they have two alternative Try scorers and that the Yellow card was given to Stef Thorpe. Our report is based around pitch side observations and the official RFU Competition Match Card).

Apart from a sublime cross-field kick by Johnson, sent to No 14 Kian Stewart (who ran out of pitch), most of the remaining quarter was dominated by more Stourbridge territory and possession. The visitors were camped inside Huddersfield’s 22 m line for long periods and were unlucky not to score when Nick Murphy crashed over under the posts. The whistle blew and play was called back but Stour were awarded the scrum put in.

After a frustrating and prolonged period of scrum resets, breakdowns and “held up’ calls, Stourbridge were able to release the ball and a long pass to No 14 Mark Harrison saw his speed and running line take him over for a well worked 5 points, converted by Rickie Aley. The score was now 15-7 with 8 minutes left to play. The restart did see Huddersfield threaten the Stour line and a clearance kick to halfway did relieve the pressure. However, the lineout steal by Nick Murphy was a turning point that allowed Stourbridge to advance up field again.

It was only with the last play of the game that the visitors secured a vital Bonus Point when Stour’s scrum dominance won them a penalty with just seconds to go. Fortunately, the players were able to detect the audible directions from Stour’s ‘dugout’ meaning Rickie Aley was sent his kicking tee and he slotted over a penalty with last kick of the afternoon.

Next week, Stour take on 7th place Sedgley Park who are 7 points ahead of their hosts but only one more win so this should be an exciting game before we hit the final month of 2018! On some positive notes, Stour only conceded 2 tries against third placed Huddersfield and we look forward to their return trip on 9th March. Stourbridge had advantages in both scrum and lineout set moves as well as significant territorial and possessory plays having dominated at least 70% of the game.
We look forward to seeing a bumper crowd at Stourton Park and hope that the remainder of the year will see some notable results from our boys in Blue.

Match report by Richard Stanley, pics by Andy Cook

Videos and photos

Stour at Huddersfield 17.11.18
6 photos

Team selection

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League round up

Other National 2 North results

Sedgley Park
Preston Grasshoppers
Sheffield Tigers

League table

# Team Pl Pts
9. Otley 30 81
10. Hinckley 30 81
11. Stourbridge 30 77
12. Leicester Lions 30 75
13. Sheffield Tigers 30 62
14. Macclesfield 30 47
15. South Leicester 30 45

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