High flying Huddersfield downed by the Rundle and Simpson road show in a 12 try extravaganza
By Mark Denison
Twenty points from Dan Rundle and twenty one from Gareth Simpson plus some exquisite work from the remaining Stour Stars send a massive message out to the rest of this league!
For the 3rd time this season, Stour defeat a top 4 side and, in the process move up two places to virtual safety and offered maximum entertainment value to the Stourton Park faithful! In this 12 Try extravaganza the scoreboard was ticking over at a point per minute but high flyers, Huddersfield came away ‘pointless’, managing just three tries plus 7 points through the boot of ex Sale man Chris Johnson.
The home team were looking to recover from last week’s defeat to Fylde and it took just four minutes before Gareth Simpson slotted a penalty for the first of his 21 points personal tally. He then added a try after a Joe Heatley break followed by George Morgan and his final pop pass to the Scrum Half was nicely timed and close enough to the woodwork for Simpson to add the extras. Huddersfield replied with a Chris Johnson penalty however straight from the kick off Sam Wilson spotted a gap, breaking out of his own ‘22’ before slipping the ball to Dan Rundle. He found open side flanker, James Seabrook on his inside and although the defence was closing fast, the youngster found support from his Scrum Half who raced over the line again close enough for a conversion. The score was now Gareth Simpson 15, Huddersfield 3!
The talented scrum-half was instrumental in Dan Rundle’s first try after Stourbridge stole possession and he darted away from the ‘22’ to feed Dan Rundle on the left wing. Dan then proceeded to dance through the visitors from half way for a try albeit halted by a half-hearted Huddersfield tackle. Simpson again added the extras. The home defence looked strong but Huddersfield found a way through on 25 minutes after a period of pressure and when troublesome No 11, Lewis Workman touched down in the corner. Stour hit back on 32 minutes after a quick tap penalty by Gareth Simpson who slipped the ball, back handed to set off another Heatley break. His long looping pass put Rundle in down the left for the bonus points try with barely half an hour gone. Huddersfield did manage another effort 4 minutes later when Centre, Tom Owen scored a try and Johnson converted to make it 27-15 at half time.
From the restart, Huddersfield continued to keep the play in Stour territory but the hosts' much improved defence held firm for 15 minutes until they managed to regain territory. With mounting scrum dominance, Stourbridge eventually secured some decent possession and Nigel Mukarati broke from the back. With the ball out to Sam Wilson, his vision then created the next score when a massive pass out left fed the voracious Dan Rundle who again crashed over in the corner.
As momentum gathered, another immediate response from the kick off gave Stourbridge a scrum on half way. Chris Scott, (now playing at Fly Half) gave the ball out right where the flying winger, Dan Rundle, came inside to collect the ball for his next try. He looped around the central defenders then suddenly cut inside from 50 metres out. Untouched, he charged over the line and Simpson's boot added two more points.
On the hour mark and after some untidy passages of play Huddersfield mauling paid off and the ball was spun out of a ruck inside Stour territory. Joe Green darted around two defenders for the visitors third try and Johnson secured the conversion for the their last points of the afternoon.
Nick Murphy responded straight away with a try for Stour thus denying any hope that Huddersfield may have had for a win! His well-deserved try came from the base of a ruck and Gareth Simpson was on target with the kick.
Joe Heatley scored Stour’s eighth of the day, getting his reward for some earlier hard work. From within the ‘22’ Chris Scott sent the ball to Mark Harrison who ‘bounced’ the defender and slipped the ball to Heatley. His jinking run took him the remaining length of the pitch followed by Dan Rundle, Gareth Simpson and James Seabrook. Instead of offloading the ball, his determination took him over the line as the referee called “not held” after he was hauled down and momentum took him over the line!
Now, and almost scoring at will, Stour’s confidence was running on high octane but apparent low risk! Directly from the restart, the backline chose to run the ball out, once more. Sam Wilson accelerated over the 22-metre line and cut through the defence, off loading to Dan Rundle on the left touchline. In spite of being grounded by a tap tackle, he regained his horizontal and the hapless Huddersfield defence were unable to prevent onward progress. That afternoon, there were two acts of selfless behaviour, the first of which saw the Man of the Match Dan Rundle get over the line, not to score but pass inside to team mate Luke Veebel to touch down. Chris Scott converted to make the final score 58-22.
In spite of some ferocious offence in the last 8 minutes, the visitors were unable to get their Bonus Point try and referee James O’Brien blew for full time and a rapturous cheer from all over Stourton Park!
Check out the highlights on http://www.ncarugby.com
With Hull Ionians losing at home to Sedgley Park (27-34) Chester closed the gap in 2nd place after defeating Wharfedale who we play next weekend in a ‘catch up’ fixture. Stourbridge move up to 10th position and now only need a single point to be guaranteed of league safety. However, injury worries still blight the team, as Jack Lea had to leave the pitch after 67 minutes with a broken arm. Birthday boy Stef Thorp who had already been ‘subbed off’ some 10 minutes earlier, replaced him! Jack may be fit for the final 2 games but Sam Montieri is still a concern and Nick Cairns was a late ‘cry off’ following last week’s knee injury. There is still concern over Chad Thorne!
As for the second act of selfless behaviour, we must pass our gratitude to the newest member of the management team, Alex Davidson. At a time of high pressure, intense activity and a frenetic passage of play he managed to overcome his shyness, natural timidity and reluctance to vocalise. He did this by reminding colleagues that we were, in fact playing Huddersfield and not Halifax!