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Stourbridge 1st XV - Match centre

Stourbridge
Sedgley Park
Sat 24 Nov 15:00 - RFU National - National 2 North Full time

“Bowling Ball” is back but marvellous Mark Harrison, hat trick hero, seals the deal to tame Tigers!

This was always going to be a battle given both teams previous encounters and both aiming to raise themselves above mid table mediocrity and Saturday’s performances lived up to expectations. PICTURES TO FOLLOW - APOLOGIES!

“Bowling Ball” is back but marvellous Mark Harrison, hat trick hero, seals the deal to tame Tigers!

This was always going to be a battle given both teams previous encounters and both battling to raise themselves above mid table mediocrity and Saturday’s performances lived up to expectations. Nine tries were scored in this roller coaster ride. The lead changed hands three times and the visitors also drew level thrice but certainty of a win only came when the final whistle blew. This said, the Stourton Park faithful were eerily quiet throughout in spite of a near 300 attendance.

The game may have taken a different turn had Tigers taken advantage of the 2:1 penalty count. They also failed to capitalise on numerical advantage when Rickie Aley was binned for trying to release himself from the grasp of a Tigers player even though he was not in possession of the ball.

Stour vs Sedgley Park 26.11.18
17 photos

Stour kicked off proceedings and gave away two penalties within the first three minutes. This enabled the visitors to breach first the half way line then the ‘22’. Fortunately for Stourbridge the attack broke down and Mark Harrison pounced on loose ball. From inside the 5 metre line he broke tackles and his class and pace out stripped the defence and his length of the pitch dash saw him dot down under the posts and Rickie Aley added the extras.

Tigers hit back immediately after the lightning legs of Jamie Harrison released Rob Holloway to score out left and a tricky kick for Stephen Collins landed the extra two points. The next 15 minutes went scoreless but were punctuated by a series of penalties with both teams failing to capitalise. The deadlock ended through a nice break by Callum Morris whose pace and strength took him through gaps and tackles, eventually setting the ball up for a Stour maul. Enter “Bowling Ball” Jack Lea for a trademark trundle and another Try giving Rickie Aley his second conversion of the afternoon.

Stalemate then ensued with both sides making ground but giving away needless penalties including a shoulder charge on Jack Lea. Stour then lost the ball in a tackle and, playing advantage, the ball was sent out wide into the hands of Tigers’ left winger Jamie Harrison who outpaced the defence, scoring on the 33 minute mark and Collins hit a lovely conversion to level the score at 14 apiece.

However, Stourbridge went into the half time period ahead when Mark Harrison scored his second Try. Stourbridge had won a penalty after Nigel Mukarati locked down on a hapless Tigers player. Moments later Stour lost Hal Riley after a horrendous collision when he took ‘crash ball’ yet surprisingly only suffering a calf injury. Sedgley Park regained possession and cleared their line conceding a lineout. The throw in was well-won and sent out with Rickie Aley coming into the line. He looked up and sent a sublime little kick towards the right corner. Mark Harrison leapt, Salmonesque , out jumping his opposite number and scoring a further five points but too far out for the conversion. 19: 14 and half time was signalled.

The second period commenced with Tigers kicking off and attacking but were dispossessed by great work from Sam Montieri who was playing out of his skin after returning from injury. Unfortunately, Tigers open side flanker Liam Canning was next to trouble the scorer when he poached ruck ball just as a void opened up in front of him and a simple pick and go went almost untouched and giving a simple conversion to Collins and putting Tigers into the lead for the first time. This was nearly extended through a damaging break by danger man Matt Riley but thwarted by an excellent Callum Morris cover tackle.

Stour regrouped and it was Sedgley Park’s turn to go on the back foot. A probing kick was sent out for Dan Rundle to chase and the ball was sent inside to Joe Heatley. His break was enough to wrong foot the defence and he passed outside to Mark Harrison. Still with plenty to do, he raced down the right touchline and then managed to outwit the defenders, scoring his hat trick under the posts and Rickie Aley converted giving Stour a 5-point advantage.

This was soon cut back by a Stephen Collins penalty five minutes later but Stour hit back after replacement centre Luke Veebel punched a hole through the Tiger’s lair. Joe Heatley then sent a chip and chase over the defence where a chasing Mark Harrison forced the Tigers into touch. Lineout ball was secured and the driving maul gave James Seabrook his first SRFC Try and a simple conversion effort for Rickie Aley.

33-24 with some 20 minutes to play was always going to mean an exciting final phase to the game and were given more to test their nerves including a drop goal attempt by Aley and Tigers probing kicks into the home ‘22’. Eventually, playing penalty advantage the visitors managed to secure their second Bonus Point when Collins chipped ahead and eventually regathering to score out left but too far away for the conversion.

Now down to 14 players, Stour then seemed to galvanise their efforts a final push and won a penalty on half way. Chris Scott sent the ball towards the 22 m line and, following lineout ball Stour then won another penalty, this time close enough for Chris Scott to kick three points meaning Tigers had to score twice to win or draw the game. However, the pressures now being applied by Stourbridge were enough to see Tigers replacement Zack Sargent leave the field with a Yellow Card and Rickie Aley return to the pitch after his 10 minute break!

The next few minutes witnessed further pressure on the Tigers territory and another Stour penalty lineout. However, the visitors were able to ‘hold up’ play in the tackle, gaining a scrum but not before the final whistle signalled the end.

Man of the Match went, inevitably, to Mark Harrison but this was a great team effort and a performance the polar opposite of the previous week. Next week Stourbridge travel north to the famous old ground in Otley. There are concerns over injured players, which may rule out Hal Riley. Cousin George Morgan is also doubtful, as are Sam Montieri, and Reece Beddows. Both Chris Scott and Joe Heatley needed stitches to head wounds but should be fit to travel.

Match report by Richard Stanley, pics by Ceri Davies

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC

Videos and photos

Stour vs Sedgley Park 26.11.18
17 photos

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League round up

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
10. Tynedale 14 36
11. Sheffield Tigers 14 35
12. Stourbridge 14 34
13. Leicester Lions 14 28
14. South Leicester 14 26
15. Macclesfield 14 18
16. Peterborough Lions 14 17

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