STOURBRIDGE continued their irresistible form in National Two North with a punishing 44-6 success over Preston Grasshoppers in front of a bumper Stourton Park crowd.

Stour ran in a total of eight tries, while Preston’s only response was a couple of first half penalties.

The margin of success would have been much wider had goalkickers Jamie Hearn and then Sam Baker had their shooting boots on and proved a bit more accurate.

Stour director of rugby Neil Mitchell said: “I’m not too worried about that, kicking is an individual issue, not a team one.

“Jamie knows what he has to do and stayed behind after training this week to practise kicking for an hour.

“He’s been working on his technique with coach Mike Umaga. It worked well enough at Caldy the previous week when he was excellent. We just put it down to one of those days!”

Ironically Hearn opened the scoring for Stour with a well worked try within two minutes of the kick-off before Preston hit back to take a 6-5 lead through a couple of Lewis Allen penalties.

Stour regained the lead when Tatenda Mukarati crashed over for a second try which Hearn improved upon to lead 12-6 at the break.

The second half turned into a stampede of six tries, with lock forward Nile Dacres being driven over twice, while winger Stefan Cooksammy helped himself to a couple more with full-back Matt Farrington and inside centre Ben Barkley adding to the carnage.

Stour head for Sheffield Tigers this Saturday who are surprisingly propping up the table at present, but Mitchell believes the game represents a real banana skin and said: “Sheffield are a better side than their position suggests, but they seem to have played all the top sides. We must remain focussed.

Tim Douglas looks set to make his Stour debut at Sheffield, since his arrival from Nuneaton this summer, replacing injury hit Ben Barkley.

Mitchell has also put three of his squad, Baker, Ashley Oyekan and Tom May out on loan with Dudley Kingswinford.

He said: “They have a few injury problems at the moment and I’ve got some players who need to be playing, especially as there’s a lull in our Second XV fixtures.

Stour have also landed a huge boost with the return of former skipper and second row Ben Hughes.