STOURBRIDGE were more convincing than the 23-17 scoreline suggested against Chester this week.
They held a healthy 20-3 lead going into the final quarter with their sights firmly set on picking up a bonus point when they had hooker Scott Wright sent off with 16 minutes remaining - writes Nick Pullen
Wright’s departure totally altered Stour’s pattern of play as they went on the defensive.
But that only triggered a sudden Chester offensive which saw them twice breach Stour’s try line and moved them to within five points before a late Jamie Hern penalty put the issue beyond reach.
Stour’s Director of Rugby Neil Mitchell claimed: “We should have scored more points by the time Scott Wright was sent off. We then looked to defend what we’d got, but credit to Chester who threw the kitchen sink at us.
“Just like Sheffield, it was never really a five point game - not if we’d played for two hours!
“I was still quite pleased with our performance. Even when down to seven men in the pack, we were still beating them in the scrums”.
Chester had taken an early lead with a Rhys Hayes penalty which Hearn quickly cancelled out.
Then a break by Matt Farrington set up skipper Robbie Hurrell to score behind the posts for Hearn to convert and then add a further penalty.
Hearn had further chances to score with the boot but proved off target before Stour appeared to be putting the game out of sight when Stefan Shillingford intercepted a wayward pass to score a gift try which Hearn improved upon.
Wright was then dismissed for an off the ball incident and that was the signal for Chester to step up a gear.
They pounded Stour’s line for fully 10 minutes before finally Tom Foden broke through for a try which Hayes converted.
Another try followed when Chester’s pack forced their way over from a driving maul to set the alarm bells ringing.
But Stour responded by sending Chester back deep inside their own territory thanks to some pin-point kicking by Pete White.
Chester finally conceded another penalty, which Hearn gratefully kicked to secure the win.
Stour travel to Leicester Lions in a National League 2 North game on Saturday and Mitchell claimed: “I’m going there with what I believe is my strongest side. I’m going there with a juggernaut.
“I’ve virtually reverted to last season’s pack with Ben Hughes and Adam Sturdy coming back in.
“And with Nathan Bressington and Sam Robinson now fully fit, even the bench looks strong”.