10:20am Thursday 9th January 2014
CONCERNED Stourbridge director of rugby Neil Mitchell admitted to fast losing patience with his under-performing players following a disjointed display against Birmingham and Solihull this week.
Although Stour proved 19-7 winners, Mitchell expressed his unhappiness with the manner in which his side fell away in the second half and failed to produce a cherished bonus point.
All appeared to be going to plan by half-time after Stour had powered over for three tries.
But the second half was a different story as Stour failed to add to the scoreline, and Mitchell claimed: “We all knew what was required and we had to put together a substantial performance, but instead we fluffed our lines with a lacklustre second-half show.
“It’s the third game in a row that we’ve capitulated in the second half and I’ve had my fill of excuses.
“We switched off again and there are certain individuals who are not delivering.
“There’s 95 per cent of the squad who were with me last season and went through all the pain that we endured. They experienced the emptiness after the play-offs and I’m not prepared to go through all that again.
“The first half against Birmingham and Solihull, we had all the elements there. We came flying out of the blocks and played some of our best rugby of the season, then for 40 minutes we couldn’t score another try. The players lost concentration, and what angers me is that I can’t seem to make some of them realise.
“The teams around us, Macclesfield, Sedgley Park and Darlington Mowden Park, keep picking up bonus points, while we seem to go to sleep.
“There was no better opportunity than last Saturday and yet we ended up defending for most of the second half.”
Stour looked to be cruising towards a bonus- point victory at half-time, but a combination of sin-binnings and multiple handling errors saw them clinging to their lead rather than threatening to secure the bonus point and lost further ground in the title race as a result.
Stour won an early line-out on Bees’ 22 and worked a catch and drive which was stopped illegally, but reloaded for second row Niles Dacres to score after being driven over in the ensuing maul.
Hooker Dale Garner then picked up a yellow card, which meant winger Jamie Hearn having to pack down on the flank as Stour drove an attacking scrum towards Bees’ line before flanker Eji Uzoigwe picked up to stroll over unopposed for a second try.
Stour then snapped up a third try while still reduced to 14.
Uzoigwe gathered a chipped kick ahead by Stour old boy Rod Petty and linked with Stefan Shillingford, who handed off one tackle and then eliminated two more with a dummy before sprinting clear to score.
With Hearn converting twice, Stour led 19-0 at half-time.
The second half was a different story, Bees reducing the leeway when No.8 Chris Goddard grounded the ball following a series of forward drives.
Stour picked up two more yellow cards, full back Tom Jarvis and then replacement Gary Dipple being sent to the sin-bin.
Stour struggled to string any phases of play together and the second half ended, much as it began, with handling errors.
Mitchell will want a marked improvement when Stour entertain mid-table Caldy this Saturday.
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