9:13am Thursday 27th March 2014
STOURBRIDGE are facing a season-defining contest against promotion rivals Darlington Mowden Park this Saturday.
The fixture will see second-placed Stour take on third-placed Darlington in a game that is vital to both sides' chances of success this season.
Director or rugby, Neil Mitchell, said: "Saturday's game is crucial. It has been a very good season for us so far, but everything has come down to this game. Two years of hard work has fallen on this contest.
"Our hopes of staying in the title race and our chances of securing a play-off place are all about how we do against Darlington. A win would cut the gap at the top and put a lot of pressure on the teams around us."
Mitchell also said he was counting on the support of the home faithful at Stourton Park to help his team at the weekend.
"Darlington beat us when we played them at their place but I think our home support could be key to us turning that around.
"If people are going to ever come and support us, they should do it this weekend. It's a massive game," he added.
He also said he would be preparing his players by showing them videos of the reverse fixture earlier in the season to make sure everyone is prepared.
"We have not played to our best in recent games against Otley and Luctonians and it is important we step up our performance levels for this contest.
"I think a big problem has been that the players have had one eye on this game for a few weeks. Now that it is here it is important they step up and show what they are capable of," said Mitchell.
Stourbridge go into the game still ahead of Darlington after picking up a hard-fought bonus point victory against Luctonians last weekend.
Two tries from Nigel Mukarati and others from Tom Jarvis and Nathan Bressington helped them to a 20-15 win.
Though Darlington have played one game less than Stourbridge, they will have to face current league leaders Macclesfield in the final game of the season.
Don't miss the chance to follow the action from Saturday's vital contest (3pm ko) with The News' live match updates. We will be online from 2.30pm with team news before providing regular updates from the game.
© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group