Stourbridge to continue title challenge

8:17am Thursday 20th March 2014

STOURBRIDGE go into this Saturday’s encounter at Luctonians knowing that they must leave their Herefordshire neighbours with nothing less than a bonus point win if they are to maintain their National Two North promotion challenge.

Lucs will be looking to avenge a nine-try rout suffered at Stourton Park back in November.

Stour will then contest a season-defining home fixture against fellow contenders Darlington Mowden Park the following Saturday.

They will be seeking revenge for their only away defeat of the season, a 38-8 reversal inflicted at Mowden Park’s Northern Echo Arena. Stourbridge will be without the services of influential flanker James Rodley who has damaged a knee ligament and misses the rest of the season.

But Director of Rugby Neil Mitchell can select from an otherwise full squad.

He said: "Luctonians will always present a significant physical challenge at home, a dry pitch would favour the superior firepower of our three-quarters so I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to hear there’s been a freak cloudburst over Mortimer Park and find a heavy surface that suits their forward game. Last season my pack selection over there was simple - the biggest eight blokes in the squad - and I don’t see it being much different this time. The players know we have no margin for error if we wish to remain in control of our own destiny, we have learned and moved on from the disappointment of last season and the pressure is now on leaders Macclesfield.

"They face a difficult run in, it starts against a young Otley side who finished very strongly against us two weeks ago and will give Macc’s big pack the runaround late in the game.

"They then finish against Mowden Park. If we perform as we know we can in the next five games, the loser of that shoot-out will most likely finish up empty-handed in third."

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