10:56am Thursday 12th September 2013
DIRECTOR of rugby Neil Mitchell said he was far from happy with Stourbridge’s start of the season despite their 24-7 success over Harrogate.
An indifferent opening was followed by an indisciplined second-half after the heavens had opened with a spell of torrential rain.
Thankfully, the Stourton Park side already had victory and the bonus point in the bag by that stage following a four-try first-half burst.
Encouragingly for Stour, it was two of Mitchell’s summer signings that caught the eye during that period.
Ben Barkley set up the chance for fellow centre Stefan Shillingford to crown his debut with a try after 15 minutes which Jamie Hearn converted.
Another newcomer Matt Farrington supplied the second try before Nathan Bressington squeezed his way over to secure a third to put Stour 17-0 ahead on the half hour.
Harrogate were reduced to 14 before Nile Dacres drove over for a fourth try which Hearn converted to put Stour 24-0 up at half time.
The second half was an anti-climax by comparison as the game descended into an ill tempered contest at times which saw Dacres sent to the sin bin for a late hit on Harrogate’s scrum half.
In the dying moments Harrogate replacement back Callum Irvine intercepted a loose pass and outpaced Gary Dipple to score and convert himself.
Mitchell said: “For 35 minutes we played well, but both (coach) Mike Umaga and myself were a bit despondent with the way we started the game.
“Harrogate took the game to us for the first 10 minutes because we showed them too much respect.
“Five points is what we required and that’s what we got but there are areas we need to improve upon.
“Effectively we lost the second half 7-0 when we would have expected a little bit more than that.”
Mitchell has hinted at changes for Saturday’s short trip to Dudley Kingswinford and takes nothing for granted.
He said: “There’s never an easy ride at Dudley I’d much prefer to play them later in the season.”
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