12:04pm Thursday 17th October 2013
STOURBRIDGE had to pull out all the stops to claim a 17-14 success at bottom of the table Sheffield Tigers to remain top of National Two North.
At one stage Stour were staring defeat in the face as they trailed 14-10 well into the second-half, but a late try from England Counties prop Mike George saved the day - write Nick Pullen.
Stour had just as much difficulty coping with the elements as they did with Sheffield.
Director of rugby Neil Mitchell said: “The conditions were horrific. “Their ground is situated on the edge of the Derbyshire moors and I must admit I’ve never seen weather quite like it.
“In addition, the officials were perplexing. The referee gave five penalties against us in the scrum during the first-half alone, for reasons I know not why.
“In fact I’m still waiting to hear from the referee now to understand some of the decisions he made.
“Consequently it was a fractured game where the ball hardly got beyond the scrum-half.
“I know I’ve been fairly critical of the side this season, but on this occasion, four points were quite acceptable, because I think five were almost unobtainable in the conditions.”
Stour opted to play with both the weather conditions and slope in their favour for the first-half, but Sheffield belied their league position and showed plenty of steel as they led with two Liam Wallace penalties and a Pete Swatkins try.
Stour countered with two penalties of their own, both as a result of penalties being kicked into the corner and resulting line-out possession which saw atry for Nigel Mukarati and a debut score for promising forward Chris Depper.
Jamie Hearn was unable to land either conversion, hitting the upright on one occasion, before Sheffield struck back to regain the lead on the stroke of the interval half time with a Wallace drop goal that arrived shortly after Stour loosehead prop Mike Hill had been sin-binned.
However, Sheffield found themselves reduced to 13 at one stage in the second-half and Stour took full advantage.
Following a series of forward drives, George forced his way over for a try which Hearn converted.
Stour can expect another tough test this Saturday when they entertain Sedgley Park, one of the sides expected to challenge them for the title this season with centre Ben Barkley looks set to return to the back division.
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