'Abject' Stour fail to sparkle in second half show

James Rodley looks for a way through Birmingham and Solihull's defence

James Rodley looks for a way through Birmingham and Solihull's defence

First published in Stourbridge RFC

THE word ‘abject’ doesn’t often spring to mind too often in the wake of a 32-10 win.

But Stourbridge director of rugby Neil Mitchell didn’t mince his words following Stourbridge’s success over local rivals Birmingham and Solihull.

Mitchell was miffed that his Stourbridge side failed to build on their 25-3 half time advantage.

He said: “We just went into cruise control for what was a meaningless half of rugby, from which we learnt nothing.

“I had an in depth discussion with some of my senior players this week and I hope the message hit home.

“All I can believe is that a bit of complacency crept in”.

There was no sign of Stourbridge’s subdued second-half to come as they took the game by storm.

They starved Bees of possession and Jamie Hearn soon made them pay with an early penalty.

Although fly-half Adam Canning levelled, Stour were surely taking command and regained the lead when hooker Jordan Page kicked ahead and won the race to touchdown.

Outside-centre Stefan Shillingford then capitalised on a kick from scrum-half Pete White to pounce on the loose ball with and score with Hearn kicking the extras.

The third try was easily Stour’s best as Gary Dipple crashed over to finish off a fabulous move that tore Bees defence apart, with Hearn converting to increase the advantage at half-time.

The expected second-half onslaught never arrived.

Stour’s dismal display was summed up when they chose to kick a penalty at goal rather than play for the corner and following line out when one more try was required for the bonus point.

In the event, Hearn missed the kick and that seemed to sum up Stour’s showing.

Shortly after, Bees were reduced to 14 when seasoned scrum half Rod Petty was penalised for killing the ball.

Despite their disadvantage, Bees secured their only try, winning line-out ball and driving over the line for Rob Connelly to get the vital touch which Canning converted.

It was a huge relief when full back Matt Farrington raced clear to score the bonus point try on 65 minutes which Hearn improved.

Stour head for Cheshire side Caldy on Saturday with Mitchell demanding a marked improvement.

He said: “People might look at this and think we’ve got a weakness — but I think we’re a better side than last season”.

Meanwhile, the Lions lost out 20-19 to Leamington in Midlands Two West South.

Duncan Chance scored his seventh try of the season and Aaron Boffey bagged another, both converted by Sam Wilson to put the Lions ahead.

Leamington hit back to lead 20-14 and a late try from outside centre Remmy Blake went unrewarded when Wilson missed the vital conversion shot.

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